As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, flu season lurks. You may think the flu is a minor illness, and for some it is. But that’s not always the case.
Of the millions of Americans who get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands die. Flu complications include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
Getting your flu shot early is the most effective way to protect yourself and those around you, especially vulnerable populations such as the elderly, infants, and those with compromised immune systems.
The medical professionals at Medinet Family Care Clinic in Houston, TX, break down the importance of getting vaccinated and doing so early.
The importance of timing
Flu season typically starts in the fall and peaks during the winter months. It takes about two weeks post-vaccination for your body to develop the necessary antibodies to protect against the virus. Getting your flu shot early in the season ensures you are fully protected before the virus starts circulating widely.
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated, preferably by the end of October.
Why you need a flu vaccine every year
The flu virus constantly mutates, leading to different strains each year. That’s why the vaccine is updated annually and designed to protect against the strains that research indicates will be most prevalent—also, your immune protection from vaccination declines over time.
Flu vaccine options
There are several flu vaccine options this season. All flu vaccines in the United States are “quadrivalent” vaccines, which means they protect against four different flu viruses: an influenza A(H1N1) virus, an influenza A(H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses.
Three flu vaccines are preferentially recommended for those age 65 or older over standard-dose, unadjuvanted flu vaccines. These are the Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine, and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine.
Your Medinet Family Care Clinic physician will advise which vaccine is right for you.
While getting vaccinated should be your first line of defense against the flu, several other precautions exist.
- washing your hands often
- staying home if you’re sick
- wearing a mask in crowded indoor settings
- covering your coughs and sneezes
- avoid touching your face
Stay healthy this fall and winter by getting your flu vaccine early. Contact Medinet Family Care Clinic today. Call the Houston, Texas office, or use this site to schedule an appointment.