It’s not possible to predict what this flu season will be like—the timing, severity, and length of the season varies year to year. Flu viruses are constantly changing, so it’s not unusual for new ones to appear each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting an annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal spray flu vaccine) as the number one way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu and spread it to others.
The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season. Most seasonal flu activity typically occurs between October and May, most commonly peaking in December and January.
Typically, health experts recommend that people get their flu shot in early fall. Early immunization is the most effective, but it is not too late to get the vaccine in December, January or beyond. Many employers offer free onsite flu vaccinations. If your employer doesn’t offer them, you can get a low-cost flu vaccination at retail pharmacy chains. You can also schedule an appointment to get a flu shot from your primary doctor.
While you can’t control what happens to others around you, you can take preventive measures to stay well. Health Advocate provides these tips to help you reduce your risk of catching the flu.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. And if you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
- Wash your hands. Keeping your hands clean often will help you from catching and spreading germs.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs, and then touches these areas on their face.
Please note, not everyone should get the flu shot. The CDC states that children younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu vaccination, as well as people with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. Also, certain flu shots have different age indications. Be sure to consult with your primary care physician before getting a flu shot.
If you are a Health Advocate member, call your Personal Health Advocate for more information about flu vaccinations and staying healthy through cold and flu season.