When it comes to the arrival of flu season, it’s best to be prepared. Getting a flu shot early on is the best way to protect yourself against an unwanted viral invader. But what happens if you weren’t able to get the flu shot at the start of the season? Is it too late? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the flu vaccine and why it’s not too late to get one.
What Is The Flu Shot?
The flu shot is a vaccine that protects the body against the influenza virus. The vaccine itself microscopic parts of different flu viruses. The introduction of these foreign bodies triggers an immune response. The immune system develops antibodies to fight off those specific viruses. If you ever come into contact with a person who has the flu, those antibodies you now have fight off the virus before it can start an infection.
When Is Flu Season?
Flu season in the United States happens from October to May. During these colder months, the human immune system is less effective. The influenza virus also thrives in dry climates, making winter even more challenging. In addition, people spend more time indoors during winter; all of that close contact at home, school, or work means germs are spread more easily. Shorter days, and all that time warming up inside, leads to a loss of vitamin D and melatonin, further compromising the flu-fighting immune system.
Once the weather starts warming up in the spring, the flu becomes less common. People are outside more often, immune systems are boosted thanks to more sunlight and warmth, and the virus dies off in the heat.
Is It Too Late For The Flu Shot?
It’s always best to get the flu shot as early in the season as possible, so aim for October or November. This gives your body time to figure out the virus and develop antibodies. The earlier you can do this, the more you’ll be protected against getting sick.
So what happens if it’s already November or December before you get a chance to get the flu shot? Is it already too late? Definitely not!
In fact, it’s never too late to get the flu shot. Even if you’ve made it all the way to February or March without getting sick, you should still get the flu shot. The virus is active through spring, and without the antibodies, you’re left unprotected.
Getting the Flu Shot
When you go in to get your seasonal flu shot, you can expect a brief injection, possibly accompanied by a little soreness. It is impossible to get the flu from the vaccine, and most people have no reaction to the shot. Still, you might experience some minor discomfort, swelling, or redness at the site of the injection.
If you have any allergies, you must indicate this to your provider. Many flu vaccines contain egg proteins that could trigger an allergic reaction if your allergy is severe. An egg-protein-free version of the vaccine is generally available upon request.
Don’t forget to let your provider know of any other medical conditions that could impact your health after the flu shot.
Overall, getting a flu shot is a wise move, even late into the season. Visit an urgent care center for same-day flu shots now to protect yourself against influenza.