October 4, 2023
Reduce your risk and contribute to the health of your community.
As the leaves begin to change and the temperature drops, fall is in the air. But crisp air and pumpkin spice is not all that is carrying on the breeze — fall flu season is approaching.
Now is the time to start thinking about protecting yourself and your loved ones from the influenza virus with your annual flu shot. Here is everything you need to know:
Why Should You Get a Fall Flu Shot?
The primary reason is an obvious one – to protect yourself from the influenza virus. The flu can be a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or even death, especially for young children, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems.
Flu shots are not just for personal protection. You contribute to public health through herd immunity. This means that when a significant portion of the population is vaccinated, it becomes harder for the flu virus to spread, protecting those who are unable to receive the vaccine.
Less Missed Work and School:
The flu can be incredibly disruptive, causing you to miss work or school for several days. A flu shot reduces your risk and allows you to focus time on embracing life – not nursing yourself back to health.
If you do contract the flu despite your vaccination, you will still see benefits. By prepping your immune system, symptoms are likely to be milder and shorter in duration compared to someone who did not get their flu shot.
How to Get Your Fall Flu Shot
The ideal time to get your flu shot is in the early fall, typically from September to October. This gives your body the time to build immunity before the flu season peaks, which is usually between December and February.
Where to Get Vaccinated
You have several options for getting a flu shot. Choose a location and provider that works best for your schedule:
- Your doctor’s office or a local clinic
- Retail pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens
- Workplace vaccination programs
- Flu shot clinics and community health centers
You can search your area using the vaxassist tool. Just select the flu vaccine, enter your zip code, and find a provider near you.
Many health insurance plans cover the cost of flu shots. Check with your insurer or benefits administrator about what resources are available to you at no cost. If you do not have insurance, do not fear – flu shots are often available at low or no cost at public health departments and community clinics.
Types of Vaccines
There are different types of flu vaccines available, including standard-dose, high-dose, and nasal spray. Consult your healthcare provider to determine which one is most suitable for you, especially if you have underlying health conditions or allergies.
Some flu vaccines are designed specifically for certain age groups. For instance, there are vaccines tailored for seniors and children. Choose the option that is best suited to your age and health status.
Flu shots are not without side effects, though most are relatively mild. The most common are soreness at the injection site, low-grade fever or mild fatigue. Serious side effects are extremely rare. If you have had any adverse reactions or severe side effects to vaccinations in the past, make sure to discuss them with your primary care provider or pharmacist prior to receiving your flu vaccine.
Remember that new flu strains pop up every year so even if you got your shot last year, it is critical to renew your vaccination annually. The newest version of the vaccine is updated to provide protection against the most prevalent strains for the current season.
Fall flu shots are a critical tool to safeguard your health and the health of those around you during the flu season. By getting vaccinated, you not only reduce your risk of contracting the flu but also contribute to the health of your community.
Getting a flu shot may seem intimidating, but affordable, accessible options abound — and the benefits far outweigh potential side effects. Don’t wait. Schedule your fall flu shot today and enjoy a healthier autumn season.