Flu season often continues into early spring. Here are 5 reasons you should get vaccinated as soon as you can.
If you’ve ever had the flu, you know how miserable it can be. Symptoms can include fever, body aches, sore throat, and cough. In severe cases, the flu can lead to hospitalization or even death.
The best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot in the early fall, before flu viruses begin circulating.
But even if you haven’t been able to get your flu shot yet, we still recommend getting vaccinated. That’s because flu season typically peaks in February and can continue well into May.
Here are 5 reasons why you should get a flu shot every year:
The immunity you get from a flu shot lasts only about a year.
Plus, flu viruses change each year. New flu vaccines fight the latest strain of the virus.
The flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu by 40% to 60%, according to recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Even if you get the flu after getting a flu shot, vaccination can make your symptoms less severe. Studies have shown that adults who got the flu after being vaccinated had a 31% lower risk of death than those who were unvaccinated.
Adults 65 and older, pregnant people, and people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and HIV are at high risk for flu complications. These people can have a harder time fighting the flu, usually because they have weaker immune systems.
Children under 5 are another group that often needs medical care for the flu. Kids who get the flu shot are much less likely to end up in the emergency room, go to urgent care, or be hospitalized due to the flu.
We encourage flu shots for all children 6 months and older.
The flu shot can’t make you sick because it doesn’t contain a live virus.
It takes about 2 weeks for the flu shot to start preventing flu. So, if you get sick with the flu after getting vaccinated, you might have been infected before the vaccine started to work.
It’s also possible you got infected by a less-common flu virus strain. The current vaccine protects against the 3 or 4 most common strains expected to be circulating each year.
It’s safe to get your flu shot at the same time you get vaccinated for COVID-19. At some Kaiser Permanente facilities, you may be able to get both shots during the same visit.
Visit kp.org/flu to find flu shot locations near you.