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The best time to get your flu shot? 

Independent Health experts say now.

The kids are back to school and colder weather will be here sooner than we know it. The closer quarters mean that cold and flu will more easily spread than in summertime. For some of us, getting the run-of-the-mill cold is unavoidable, but at least there is one easy way to protect ourselves and family members against the flu: get a flu shot.


Get your flu vaccine

It is important to get the flu vaccination every year because the virus may change year to year. The annual vaccination includes the most commonly anticipated influenza viruses for the upcoming flu season.


When is the best time to get your flu vaccination? Right now, when the vaccination first become available because it takes about two weeks to develop full protection from the flu.  However, flu vaccines are usually available well through the spring since flu season usually peaks in February and can run through May.  


Your primary care doctor normally has a supply of the flu vaccine, but you can also get your flu shot at drugstores, community centers, your place of employment, and supermarkets.


Who needs the flu shot?

Every year up to 20 percent of Americans come down with the flu. Most healthy people recover, but more than 100,000 people end up in the hospital from the illness and from flu-related complications. Nearly everyone can benefit from the flu vaccine, and people in these high-risk groups should be sure to get a shot:

  • Everyone older than 6 months is recommended for flu vaccination with rare exception.
  • Children younger than 2 years should not receive the nasal spray vaccine
  • Anyone ages 2 and older with a chronic illness such as heart, lung, or kidney disease; diabetes; or a weakened immune system
  • Adults ages 65 and older
  • Nursing home residents
  • Women who are or may be pregnant during flu season
  • People who take care of at-risk populations


If you are allergic to eggs, you should talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot because eggs are used in the process of making the vaccine. If you're unsure whether you should get the flu vaccine, check with your doctor.


Good health habits

Keeping yourself healthy and exercising good health habits can also help you combat the flu. Make sure to incorporate the following into your daily routine:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.


For more information on flu prevention, visit the center for disease control and prevention website by clicking here. If you have questions regarding the flu vaccine or believe you may have the flu, contact your doctor.


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