The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends anyone over the age of six months gets a flu vaccination annually to reduce your chances of getting the flu and spreading it to others.
Flu season in the United States can begin as early as October and end as late as May. It is recommended that you get your flu shot as soon as it becomes available, which can be as early as October in some flu seasons.
Keep in mind, there is still potential to get influenza even if the vaccine has been administered. A flu vaccination does not guarantee protection against the flu. However, people who get a flu vaccine are less likely to get sick with flu than someone who does not get vaccinated.
Studies cited by the CDC have shown that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of doctor visits due to flu by approximately 60 percent among the overall population when the vaccine strains are similar to those spreading in the community.
Flu Shots FAQs
Approximately two weeks after the vaccine is administered, antibodies will begin to develop in the body that will help fight potential infection.
According to the CDC, the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.
No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines that are administered with a needle are currently made in one of two ways:
- Flu vaccine viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and are therefore not infectious
- With no flu vaccine viruses at all
The nasal spray flu vaccine does contain live viruses. However, the viruses are weakened, and therefore cannot cause flu illness. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they are designed to only cause infection at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The viruses cannot infect the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist.