September 8, 2023

Can You Get the Flu Twice?

Flu season in the U.S. usually begins in October, peaks between December and February, and ends in May. If you get the flu at any point during flu season, you may think you’re protected from the flu until the following year. However, it’s possible to get sick again, even if you’ve gotten the latest flu shot.

Can you get the flu back-to-back, and can the flu be prevented? The answers to these questions are below, along with information on how to request an appointment with Healthcare Associates of Texas if you need treatment for the flu.

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Is It Possible To Catch the Flu in One Season?

Yes, it is possible to get the flu twice in one season, or back-to-back. This is because there are often several flu viruses spreading in the community at the same time.

If you get the flu a second time during the same season, you are likely being infected by a different strain. Many times, your body will build immunity against a virus after you get infected with it. However, if you are exposed to a new strain of the flu, you may not have the level of immunity needed to avoid getting sick.

Can You Get the Flu After Getting a Flu Shot?

Yes, you can still get the flu even after getting the latest flu shot. Here are the reasons you may get the flu after getting the vaccine.

  • You were exposed to the flu virus within the two weeks before getting the flu shot. It takes about two weeks for your body to develop antibodies against the flu after being vaccinated.
  • You were exposed to a flu virus that wasn’t added to the latest flu shot.
  • You have low immunity. If your immune system is compromised due to factors such as poor nutrition or a chronic illness, you may be infected with the same strain of flu that the vaccine was made to protect you from.

While it’s possible to get the flu after getting a flu shot, it’s important to get the flu vaccine every year to protect both yourself and your loved ones against this virus. According to the CDC, getting a yearly flu shot can prevent flu-related illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths—especially among those considered to be high-risk.

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Common Flu Symptoms

Symptoms of the flu can range from mild to severe. This virus affects each person differently based on factors including age, immunity, and general health status. You can experience flu symptoms that are different from those of your relatives, even if you are living in the same home.

Common flu symptoms include:

  • Fever and/or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Sneezing.
  • Tiredness or fatigue.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.

Diarrhea and vomiting are more common in children than adults, though anyone with the flu may experience these symptoms.

Symptoms of the flu can last anywhere between a few days and a few weeks. Caring for yourself while you have the flu may reduce your risk for complications. Sinus infections, pneumonia, and myocarditis are potential complications of the flu to look out for, especially if you have low immunity or a chronic condition that puts you at higher risk.

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Can You Prevent the Flu?

Practicing certain healthy behaviors may help you prevent the flu or reduce your risk. Steps you can take to avoid the flu include:

  • Getting a flu vaccine early in the flu season. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated in September or October.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who have the flu.
  • Washing your hands often to destroy germs and bacteria.
  • Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth—especially after touching surfaces like doorknobs and stair railings that may be contaminated.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces at home and work regularly.
  • Getting plenty of quality sleep.
  • Exercising regularly. Staying active helps strengthen your immune system.
  • Eating healthy foods. Foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts contain nutrients that help your body stay strong and healthy.
  • Drinking lots of water.
  • Managing stress. Chronic stress can lower your immunity and make you more vulnerable to illnesses including the flu.

Request an appointment with Healthcare Associates of Texas today to get the latest flu shot and to receive treatment for any medical issue, including the flu. We offer a variety of primary care services, including wellness exams, immunizations, and more.

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References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Learn More about the Flu Season,” September 20, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/index.html.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “A Strong Defense Against Flu: Get Vaccinated!” September 11, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/general/strong-defense-against-flu.pdf.
  3. Baltimore City Health Department. “Frequently Asked Questions about Flu Vaccines,” May 10, 2022. https://health.baltimorecity.gov/flu/frequently-asked-questions-about-flu-vaccines.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Flu Symptoms & Complications,” October 3, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Practice Good Health Habits,” August 26, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu

DISCLAIMER
The information featured in this site is general in nature. The site provides health information designed to complement your personal health management. It does not provide medical advice or health services and is not meant to replace professional advice or imply coverage of specific clinical services or products. The inclusion of links to other web sites does not imply any endorsement of the material on such websites.

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Posted in: Flu Treatment