September 26, 2022
When is the best time to get a flu shot?
As September rolls into October, your local pharmacy may be advertising that it has received this season’s shipment of flu vaccines. However, you may be wondering when is the best time to get a flu shot. The best time to get flu shots is not necessarily as soon as they become available every year.
Here’s what you need to know about when is the best time to get the flu shot, including why you should consider the best time to get the flu vaccine before immediately signing up for a shot.
Why should you get the flu shot?
The flu, also known as seasonal influenza, is caused by an influenza virus that travels globally every year. While we have been enjoying our summer in the northern hemisphere, flu season has been in full swing in the southern hemisphere. This means that we can predict what our upcoming flu season may be like based on information about how the flu season has been going in places like Australia.
Experts note that you should get the flu shot this year because this year’s flu season has been relatively severe in the southern hemisphere compared to the past few years. The Australian government notes that they have just experienced their worst flu season since 2017. This may be because people have been social distancing and wearing masks over the past few years, which has decreased flu infections overall. When overall flu infections decrease, immunity against flu infections also decreases. This is because every time you get infected with the flu, you gain a certain amount of immunity.
The importance of timing when it comes to flu shots
Now that you know that it’s especially important to get a flu vaccine this year, your next question is probably, “when is the best time to get the flu shot?” Before you frantically start searching online with phrases like “best time for flu shot,” or “flu shot best time,” it’s important to understand why the timing of the flu shot matters.
Each year, scientists create a flu shot based on their best guess of which specific influenza viruses will infect the most people. However, this personalized flu shot is time sensitive because the immunity you get from it may only last four to six months. This means that you do not want to get the flu shot too early. For example, if you get the flu shot in August, then you may not have any remaining immunity by February, when flu season may still be in full swing in the US. Typically flu season in the US spans from December to February, but it can last until May.
When’s the best time to get a flu vaccine?
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its recommendations about the best time to get the flu vaccination. They recommend that most adults should wait until at least the end of September, or the beginning of October, to get a vaccine. This may be the best time for the flu shot. After getting a flu shot, it can take up to two weeks to get full protection from the shot. Ideally, everyone would have a flu vaccine by the end of October so that they are prepared and protected before flu infections pick up later in the year.
Who should get a flu shot earlier?
Some people should consider getting a flu vaccine earlier than the first few weeks of October. These include children who will need two doses of the flu shot. They should start early because they will have a waiting period in between shots that is at least four weeks long. For this group, getting a flu shot in mid to late September means that they will have their second shot in mid to late October.
Pregnant women in their third trimester may also consider getting a flu shot early because getting vaccinated can help pass special immune cells to their babies while they are still in the womb. This means that babies will be more protected after birth and before they are old enough to get a flu shot.
Where to get a flu shot?
When you’re taking control of your health, prevention is key. Taking certain steps to lessen your chance of getting sick this winter can make a big difference in your health. If you’ve been thinking about when to get a flu shot, don’t wait too long to act. Instead, reach out to our provider team at Healthcare Associates of Texas to schedule your flu shot this year.
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