Just like clockwork, flu season comes around once a year. As the weather starts to get colder, you should be thinking about getting a flu shot. “Although the traditional flu season peaks in January or February, it can start as early as October and end as late as May,” said Kelly Campbell, M.D., an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at Women’s Health and Menopause Center. “That’s why it’s essential to get a flu shot in advance of the peak months.”
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the flu vaccine for anyone at least six months of age and older. Some groups are more susceptible to developing complications from the flu, like pneumonia, so it’s especially important for these people to get vaccinated. Pregnant women, people 65 years of age and older, caregivers (someone caring for a person who is at high risk for developing complications) and people with certain medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease, should get the vaccine.
Your flu shot helps build the antibodies needed to guard against the illness, and lasts throughout the entire flu season.
Dr. Campbell says, “The flu virus is constantly changing. Each year a new strain can be prevalent, and the flu vaccine is formulated to combat that year’s particular strain of influenza.”
For those debating getting the vaccine because of perceived side effects, Dr. Campbell assures most side effects are mild and usually begin soon after the vaccine is administered, lasting one to two days afterward. The most common side effects of getting the vaccine are soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, headaches, fever and nausea.
Most insurance companies consider a flu shot as a preventative measure, and will cover the cost of the vaccine. We advise checking with your insurance company to verify coverage.
Thinking about getting a flu shot this year? Call Women’s Health and Menopause Center to schedule your vaccine. Give us a call at (248) 932-9223 to make your appointment.