Flu Shot 101: It’s Not Too Late to Get Vaccinated - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on November 20, 2015

Flu Shot 101: It’s Not Too Late to Get Vaccinated

Getting vaccinated annually against the flu is one of the best ways to prevent getting sick during flu season. Since flu season typically runs from October through May, doctors and healthcare providers usually recommend you get a flu shot as soon as it becomes available. Typically, it takes about two weeks for your body to gain protection from influenza after getting vaccinated.

If you haven’t gotten a flu vaccination yet, don’t worry – it’s not too late. As long as flu viruses are still spreading, you can still get the vaccine to protect yourself and those around you from getting ill. Flu season typically peaks between December and February, but the viruses can still be very active and spread as late as May.

Each year, millions of people get the flu and experience a cough, sore throat, fever, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue and days missed of school and work. That’s bad enough, but consider this – more than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized each year from flu complications, which can even be deadly.

Who Should Get Vaccinated?

People at a higher risk for serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women and those 65 and older. People with certain medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes are also at a higher risk of experiencing flu complications. Furthermore, the flu can worsen these health conditions.

It’s not only important for people with a higher risk of flu complications to get the flu vaccine, but it’s important for the people caring for them or in close contact with them to also get vaccinated – especially people caring for babies younger than 6 months old since they’re too young to get the vaccine.

It’s recommended that everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu vaccine annually to reduce the risk of catching and spreading the flu.

How to Prevent the Flu

In addition to getting vaccinated, you can further prevent getting sick by:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly and often
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Avoiding close contact with those who are sick
  • Keeping your hands away from your eyes, mouth and nose
  • Cleaning and disinfecting shared surfaces that may be contaminated with germs

If you or your child experience flu-like symptoms, you should stay home from work and keep them home from school for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. Rest is an important component of fighting illness as well as preventing getting others sick.

Related Locations

eNewsletter Signup

Our eNewsletters from Crozer-Keystone Health System help keep you up-to-date on your health and well being. View recent editions or sign up to receive our free eNewsletters.