Is it Too Late to Get a Flu Shot?

As I sat at my kitchen desk this morning, quieting the metaphorical cockatoos screaming into plastic orange cups inside my thoughts, it instantly dawned on me: I haven’t gotten my flu shot. Flu season began in October, as West Virginia NBC affiliate WTAP reported on Wednesday—does that imply I’m screwed? Am I going to get the flu? Will I die because of my very own negligence???

For those who, like me, are a giant dummy who forgets to get a flu shot yearly, regardless of the prominence of stories protection urging us to take action, constructing on many years and many years of figuring out we should always, I’ve excellent news: It’s not too late to get vaccinated for the flu this yr. You’ll be able to technically get vaccinated at any time of yr, whether or not that is in the course of summer time or the useless of winter.

However simply since you can get a flu shot anytime you need doesn’t imply you ought to. Peak flu season varies from yr to yr and might happen anytime between December and February, in line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Getting vaccinated too early could lower the vaccine’s effectiveness, placing your well being in danger throughout flu season, whereas getting a shot too late would, clearly, make you inclined to the illness till you do (and probably for as much as two weeks after vaccination, which is the time it could take on your physique to develop protecting antibodies towards the flu from the shot). That’s why the CDC recommends getting immunized in late October, simply to be protected.

For those who did not get a flu shot but, it’s not simply your individual well being that you just’re placing in danger. It’s additionally everybody you reside with, work with, commute subsequent to, and in any other case bodily spend time close to. For those who get a flu shot, you’re much less more likely to contract and unfold the illness to everybody and anybody you come into contact with—the extra people who find themselves vaccinated, the extra protected the unvaccinated shall be. (It is a phenomenon referred to as “the herd impact” or “herd immunity,” FYI.) Defending ourselves—and so, others—has turn into an much more pressing situation lately: An estimated 38,00 folks died of influenza-associated causes in the USA in the course of the 2016–17 season, per the CDC, and, although the CDC has not but finalized this quantity, they’ve estimated that anyplace from 61,000–80,000 folks died in the course of the 2017–18 flu season, which is estimated to be the very best flu-season demise depend in many years (although these numbers could change because the CDC obtains extra knowledge).

Given all this data, it’s sort of wild that fewer People over the age of 18 obtained their flu shot in the course of the 2017–18 season (37.1 %) than the season earlier than (43.three %)… which—wait. That’s fewer than two adults out of 5. That’s so low! I’m a part of the issue!! Why am I writing about this once I have to get vaccinated proper now!! Get your shot, goodbye!!!

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