Do you really need a Flu Shot?

Flu season is approaching. And the question remains whether a flu shot is necessary. If you are a health professional or work in a school, absolutely! But for others whose work environment may be low-risk for illnesses and cold symptoms, getting a flu shot is still highly recommended. The common reason doctors see patients in the months of November to March are due to cold-related symptoms. Those who have other pre-existing illnesses are at a greater risk of complications if they get the flu. All in all, Flu shots not only protect you but those around you.

When is the flu vaccine available?

Because the flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, its availability depends on when production is completed. Manufacturers generally distribute flu vaccines between August and October until all vaccine is distributed. Doctors and nurses are encouraged to begin vaccinating people as soon as the flu vaccine is available in their areas. It takes up to two weeks to build immunity after a flu shot, but you can benefit from the vaccine even if you don’t get it until after flu season starts.

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Why do I need to get vaccinated every year?

New flu vaccines are released every year to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses. Because flu viruses evolve so quickly, last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses. After vaccination, your immune system produces antibodies that will protect you from the vaccine viruses. In general, though, antibody levels start to decline over time — another reason to get a flu shot every year.