The Best Time to Schedule Your Annual Flu Shot

The Best Time to Schedule Your Annual Flu Shot

Each year in autumn, the latest mutation of an influenza virus arises, ready to infect everyone it reaches. Also each year, your annual flu shot is modified to counteract that mutation, to reduce your risk of infection or subsequent symptoms.

The flu season runs all the way from October into the early spring. The flu tends to peak between December and February. So how should you time your shot? Should you wait until the flu reaches its peak, or get it as soon as possible?

Kimberly Bolling, MD, is a knowledgeable and skilled clinician who advises that women, men, and children of all ages get their annual flu shot as early as possible. She administers flu shots in the comfort and privacy of our Bowie, Maryland, office.

Why should you get your flu shot now instead of waiting until later in the season? Following are the reasons that early protection is the best protection.

Flu shots need time to bolster your immunity

If you wait until everyone around you is coughing, sneezing, or bedridden with the flu, you probably waited too long. A flu shot can’t protect you if you’re exposed to the flu shortly after you get it.

Flu shots, like all immunizations, train your immune system to fight off that particular type of virus. This training process takes about two weeks. Until then, your body doesn’t have all of the resources it needs to combat the virus. If you encounter it, you get infected.

When you get your flu shot early in the season, you have time to build up your immune response. Then, when the flu starts circulating in earnest, you’re already protected and ready.

Flu shots keep your symptoms at bay

Even if you do manage to contract the flu, the flu shot protects you from the worst of its symptoms. While those around you may be bedridden or worse, you get off with a reduced symptom load, so you can continue with your life as usual.

In 2022, women, men, and children who received their annual flu shot were 40-70% less likely to be hospitalized because of flu or its complications, compared with those who didn’t get a flu shot. 

While you may find it inconvenient to get your flu shot each year, it’s a lot more convenient than losing time from work or school, or needing to be hospitalized.

Early flu shots protect your inner circle

Members of your inner circle, such as family and friends, may belong to age groups that are particularly susceptible to the flu and its effects. Babies, young children, and the elderly are all at risk for severe flu symptoms that could lead to hospitalization or even death. 

When you boost your immunity with a flu shot, you’re less likely to infect another person, too. By protecting yourself, you protect all of those you love as well.

Later is better than never

If, by some chance, you miss the window for an early flu shot, don’t despair. Although you may be vulnerable when the flu is raging around you, it’s not too late to get a flu shot until the season is over. 

Still, make it a priority to get your flu shot in early autumn every year to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

It's time for your annual flu shot! Contact our friendly team for your flu shot today by calling 301-352-0090 or requesting an appointment online.

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