Health News

When it comes to flu shots, it’s all about timing

There are a few things to expect as the fall season approaches – pumpkin-flavored goodies, cooler temps and of course the flu. But despite the advertisements urging that now is the time to get a flu shot, health officials are advising folks to wait.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that holding off until October can help you stay protected for the entire flu season. But despite the recommendation one thing is certain – the flu is quite unpredictable. In fact, flu season starts and ends differently for every region of the world. Additionally, some strains of the flu strike more towards the earlier months of the season.

So when should you get vaccinated?

“The annual flu vaccine has a window of time in which it provides protection and if given too early, that immunity could wan earlier than expected,” says Florida Hospital Centra Care Medical Director, Tim Hendrix, MD. “That’s why it’s important to balance the timing of your annual flu vaccine.”

Either way it’s better to get vaccinated before flu season really gets under way. Especially since it takes two weeks for the body to reach full immunity once the shot is given. Some researchers recommend mid-September as access to flu vaccinations may come in short supply in later months.


“If you have the opportunity to get vaccinated, get the shot. It will not only protect you against the flu but will also help those who are vulnerable to flu complications,” says Hendrix.

In addition to the flu shot, some other flu-prevention basics include:

• Wash hands thoroughly before eating and after using the bathroom
• Cover coughs and sneezes
• Avoid touching your face
• Disinfect commonly used surfaces
• Boost your immunity with healthy foods and plenty of rest