Now is a Great Time to Get a Flu Shot

Experts say you should aim to get a flu shot by end of October.

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Medical experts say with the coronavirus still spreading, it's more important than ever to protect yourself against another virus - the flu. And the clock is ticking down on the best time to get a flu shot.

"The CDC recommendations are that individuals try to get vaccinated by the end of October. And we're really getting close to there. Not to say that, if you do get vaccinated in the coming days or weeks, there won't be benefit there. But this is really a great time to go out and get that flu vaccine to protect yourself for the winter months, where flu activity tends to be highest," said Dr. David Banach from UConn Health.

Banach said the flu shot shouldn't affect a Covid-19 vaccine and you could get both at the same time, or space them out by a few days. There isn't any specific interval you need to wait in between.

He also explained that while you may have some side effects from your flu shot, it won't make you sick.

Less than half of U.S. adults get a flu shot...and it has real consequences for our health and the health of our loved ones. But those repercussions may never be as evident as they are during the pandemic, when unnecessary influenza cases can bog down an already-stressed hospital system. NBCLX's Noah Pransky gets the facts about why you shouldn't skip your flu shot.

"The flu shot does not have live virus in it. So you can't get infected with the flu virus, you know, people do get some response to the vaccine. And that's really, you know, your body's immune system, responding appropriately to a vaccine. So getting some fatigue getting some achiness in the hours or days after getting a vaccine is not surprising. But that's not an actual flu infection occurring, it's really your body responding appropriately," Banach said.

There is often debate about whether the flu shot really helps prevent the flu, but Banach stressed that vaccination will be critical protection moving into the winter months.

"The flu vaccine is very effective in preventing flu, you know, there's gonna be some variation year to year, um, you know, depending on how good a match the flu strains are, that are in the vaccine are to whatever viruses are circulating in the community. And, you know, that can be a little bit difficult to predict this year, because of what we saw last year, which was essentially very low flu activity."

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