When is the best time to get the flu shot? Here’s what doctors say.

The flu shot may help shield in opposition to hospitalization and demise. (Photo: Getty Images)

Fall normally means carrying cozy sweaters, consuming pumpkin spice lattes, and getting sick with the flu.

Because of the pandemic, it is one thing most individuals have not had to cope with in the final couple of years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu exercise was “sometimes low” throughout the 2020-2021 flu season, thanks to COVID security measures corresponding to extra individuals carrying masks, elevated hand washing hygiene and staying at house. .

However, as the lives of many start to return to regular, flu circumstances are anticipated to improve this fall and winter, so specialists advocate getting a flu shot.

But when must you get it? And are you able to get the flu shot at the identical time as the Omicron booster? Here’s what the specialists say.

First, why ought to individuals get the flu shot yearly?

The frequent chilly is truly attributable to a number of influenza viruses. The two varieties of viruses accountable for most individuals’s seasonal flu are influenza A and influenza B, and every has its personal subtypes and teams.

Because flu viruses are continuously altering and immunity declines over time, the flu vaccine is reformulated yearly to present higher safety. Even the World Health Organization, the group that screens the flu virus’s frequent adjustments, has a worldwide influenza surveillance and management system established in 1952.

Dr. Pedro Piedra, a professor of molecular virology and microbiology and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, advised Yahoo Life that it is ” surveillance community that appears at what viruses are circulating round the world, after which makes a best guess as to what they need to be.” modified in the vaccine” that 12 months.

Piedra explains that generally, a vaccine has an “virtually excellent match” with one in all the circulating strains. He provides: “It is at all times tough to have the excellent vaccine for all the viruses which might be circulating. But you do not at all times have to have an ideal match to have cross-protection.”

How efficient is the flu vaccine?

According to the CDC, flu photographs scale back the threat of visiting the physician with the flu by 40% to 60%. “A flu shot can scale back the threat of extreme flu signs, hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, and demise,” says Dr. Riza Conroy, MD, a household doctor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, advised Yahoo Life.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the vaccine additionally helps shield these most susceptible to the flu, concentrating on youngsters 6 months to 5 years outdated, in addition to these 65 and older. In truth, the CDC says that flu photographs “can save lives” for kids. A 2022 examine discovered that flu photographs can scale back youngsters’s threat of life-threatening flu by 75%.

“Children can die from the flu, too,” Piedra says. “Mostly, youngsters who die from the flu are youngsters who haven’t been vaccinated. He added that “not solely the aged” can die from the flu. “Children, like pregnant girls, are at better threat for extra severe issues.”

When is the best time to get the flu shot?

Although influenza viruses are detected all through the 12 months, they’re commonest throughout the fall and winter months. Conroy notes that the flu season “peaks from December to February, however circumstances improve round March and are nonetheless seen properly into May.”

According to Conroy, “The best time to get a flu shot is round October,” so you may be protected throughout flu season as a result of the flu shot “normally takes full impact two weeks after you get the shot.”

Peidra agrees that October is a “good month” to vaccinate. But generally, specialists say there is no time like the current. “This 12 months, we’re seeing flu exercise,” Peidra says, “and it is early.”

The flu vaccine is efficient for 5 to six months, Conroy mentioned.

Who wants a flu shot?

Anyone 6 months or older ought to get the flu vaccine that is acceptable for his or her age, Conroy says, until your well being care supplier tells you in any other case.

According to the CDC, there are a number of flu vaccines permitted to be used in youngsters 6 months of age and older, and two vaccines are permitted just for these 65 years of age and older. The nasal flu vaccine, FluMist, is out there for kids and adults ages 2 to 49. It also needs to be famous that some youngsters between 6 months and eight years of age want two doses of the flu vaccine.

Can you get the Omicron booster and the flu shot at the identical time?

Yes, specialists say. “You can get a flu shot and Omicron boosters at the identical time. There aren’t any contraindications to giving the two vaccines collectively, says Conroy.

However, if you have not acquired the really useful doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends getting them as quickly as attainable, adopted by a flu shot by the finish of October.

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