According to the CDC, a flu shot is the best way to lower your risk of getting the flu. Even if you are healthy or have avoided catching the flu in the past, it’s important to get a flu shot every year. It doesn’t just protect you; it can also help keep friends and family safe, especially those with chronic conditions or weak immune systems.1 Get your flu shot soon—so you can keep doing what makes you, you.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost everyone age 6 months and up, especially children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and anyone with a weakened immune system or chronic condition (like COPD, asthma or congestive heart failure).2 In fact, if you have a chronic condition, the flu shot may help you avoid the hospital and reduce the chances of worsening your condition.3
Healthy people can still get sick or carry the flu virus and spread it to others without showing symptoms. No matter how healthy you feel, the shot helps to kick-start your immune system and prepares your body to fight off the flu.
It's important to get a flu shot every year, but it’s especially important to help prevent a spike of flu cases during the COVID-19 health crisis. Flu virus strains change and vaccine protection declines over time, so last year’s vaccine may not protect you from getting sick.4
Flu vaccines take about 2 weeks to become effective, so it’s important to get your shot before flu season begins.5 The CDC suggests getting your shot in September or October, since flu season typically peaks in February and can last through May.6 Getting safer, sooner is your best chance at keeping the flu away.
However, sometimes people are exposed prior to getting the shot and get sick before it takes effect. That’s why it’s important to get the shot early.
If you’re allergic to eggs, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if the egg-free alternative is right for you.
The flu shot protects against many of the common seasonal strains. Even if different types of the virus spread, getting a shot can lessen the severity of the illness.
See your healthcare provider or visit an urgent care clinic right away. They may prescribe an antiviral drug to help reduce the severity and duration of the flu.
Ask your doctor about flu vaccination by nasal spray.
Explore the CDC’s key facts about the flu to learn how an annual flu shot maximizes your protection.
Learn more about the flu shot and flu prevention, symptoms and treatment.