With the days growing shorter and the first chill winds of fall blowing, many people begin to think of winter and the dreaded flu season.
Physicians recommend an annual flu shot to prevent infection. But when should people head down to their local pharmacy or doctors office to be vaccinated? Physicians say the best time is right now, the Weather Channel notes.
Every year, the most influenza cases are reported between October and April, meaning that we are now knocking on the door of the start of the season. Medical experts say that the very young and very old, as well as pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems due to chronic diseases, are especially vulnerable to the flu and should be vaccinated.
According to the William Schaffner, MD, the chairman of Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine’s department of preventive medicine, vaccines aimed to preventing this year’s strains of the flu are already available. He notes that children under nine should get their vaccines as early as possible since children require two shots administered one month apart.
More than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year due to the flu, which claims more than 30,000 lives annually. Even when the vaccine doesn’t prevent the flu, it lessens its symptoms, improving the odds of survival.