Getting a flu shot can help you stay healthy. The flu season starts in October and peaks between December and February. So if you haven’t already gotten your flu shot this year, don’t wait any longer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a yearly flu shot for most people ages six months and older.

For the 2016-2017 flu season, the CDC recommends using injectable flu vaccines. The nose spray flu vaccine should not be used because of concerns about its effectiveness, according to the CDC. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you and your family.

What to Know

You cannot get the flu from a flu shot. There are some possible reactions, but they’re most often mild. 

The shot may cause redness, pain and swelling at the injection site. An over-the-counter pain reliever may ease the minor side effects. If you have a questions or if you have a reaction to the shot, talk to your health care provider.

The flu is a respiratory disease that is spread mostly from person to person through coughs and sneezes. The flu often:

  • Comes on quickly
  • Lasts as long as two or three weeks
  • Raises body temperature to 100 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Causes headache, muscle aches and pains
  • Can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death

The flu can be spread before any symptoms appear. This is why others can give you the flu even before they know they have it. It’s just one more reason to protect yourself with a flu shot.

And getting vaccinated not only protects you, it also protects your family and others in your community by lowering the chance that you will spread the virus.

Those most vulnerable to flu infection are young children, the elderly and people with serious health issues. And some of these same people can’t get a flu vaccination because they are too young or their immune systems are too weak.

Getting your shot helps make sure you don’t spread the flu to at-risk people in your community.

Don’t Put It Off!

The body’s immune response from the vaccine declines after a while, so it’s important to get a flu shot each year. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the shot to protect against flu virus infection. So don’t wait until peak flu season to get your shot.

 

Prepare Your Child for the Flu Shot Visit

Take steps before your child gets a shot to make the visit less stressful.

  • Take a favorite toy or book to comfort your child.
  • Be honest. Make it clear that the shot might sting, but only for a minute.
  • Encourage older siblings or other family members to be supportive.
  • Avoid scary talk about shots.

Remember: No flu is good flu. Get your flu shot today!