Why Get a Flu Shot?

Flu shots are one of the best ways to keep flu season at bay. While flu season starts in October, many pharmacies will soon start promoting flu vaccines. Here are some tips and information to make sure you’re prepared when you get your shot!

When should I get my shot?

It’s good to get your shot as soon as possible when it becomes available in the fall, though you can typically get vaccinated as late as January. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to begin working. Usually, vaccines are available starting in September, so it’s right around the corner!

It’s important to remember that you can’t get the flu as a result of your flu shot. Additionally, the shot has no real side effects, though the nasal spray alternative can cause headache, runny nose, cough and sore throat, though these are minor and temporary.

You typically don’t need to speak to a doctor before your shot, but it’s a good idea to get their opinion if you’ve developed health problems after getting a flu shot in the past, or if you’re very ill.

Flu shots for kids

The U.S. Center for Disease Control recommends flu shots for anyone over the age of 6 months. Kids should get these shots every year, since children under the age of 5 years are particularly vulnerable to complications from the flu.

Every year, the flu shot we get has three or four different flu strains they protect against. In a typical year, at least one of these will change, making last year’s shot useless.

It’s important to also remember that since flu vaccines are made in a process that includes chicken eggs, kids with egg allergies might have a reaction after their vaccine. Kids with minor egg allergies should be safe, but those who experience stronger reactions should get their shot from a specialist who knows how to treat severe allergic reactions.

For young babies, the best way to protect them from the flu is for the parents to get the shots themselves, minimizing the risk of passing the virus onto their child.