If you are like many North Americans you might have been rushing to the clinic for your flu shot, in hopes of protecting yourself against the undeniable symptoms of influenza. Or maybe you are wondering if you are simply too late, and you’d be better off waiting until next year. If there is anything that you can be sure about, it’s that the flu shot has provided people with a good piece of mind when it comes to prevention, which is always a better option when it comes to cold and flu season than having to deal with the inevitable discomfort of the flu.
Many health experts highly recommend getting vaccinated, and getting the flu shot early, but now there is an idea that the flu shot can still be very helpful even later. Some say even as late as January. So with a little bit of time left, there are certain groups of people who might be considered high risk who might not be too late to get the influenza shot.
When Is Cold and Flu Most Likely?
Many healthcare practitioners say that the official onset to the flu season begins in the autumn months, normally around October, and can last through until when the grass starts to get green in May (or the Springtime months). The flu can strike at any time of year, but predictions and trends tend to see the highest levels between late December and March. Most health clinics will really start to push the flu shot, and the influenza information before the onset, with highest saturation of information and shots available between September and Christmas.
Experts say that while there is not really a “bad” time to receive the influenza vaccination, or to begin protecting yourself against the cold and flu virus, your best bet might be to build up your immune system by getting vaccinated before the flu season is in full force, which will give your body the chance to build up a natural level of protection to the virus, allowing a maximum amount of time to sink in, essentially. So that goes with the theory that the earlier the better.
Should Everyone Get the Flu Shot?
There isn’t really a short answer to this question. The flu vaccine is considered to be a good idea, or something for consideration for anyone over the age of 6 months old. The theory here is that the most people who are protected, the less people who there are to pass around the virus through normal human contact. But this could be considered a broad statement too, as there are clearly people who require the protection of the flu shot more than others. Some people in this group could include those who work with large amounts of people, especially large amounts of sick people. Other high risk groups could include elderly people, who are not only more likely to get sick, but less likely to be able to fight it off once they do get it. Pregnant women, and school aged children are also put in higher priority groups, especially if there is a shortage of the vaccine.
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It is recommended that people who are in the above mentioned “risk” groups get their immunization in the fall so their bodies have the correct amount of time to prepare, but to answer the main question at hand, the cold and flu isn’t a laughing matter, and it’s best that if you are considering it, the time of year isn’t as important as taking prevention methods at any time of the year, flu season or not.