If this flu season has you worried—it is for good reason: health professionals have deemed it as one of the worst in decades. There are plenty of steps you can take to protect yourself, and though the season is well underway, the best option is still the same: get a flu shot. That’s right, even though it’s mid-February, there are plenty of reasons to go out and get a flu shot. Here’s why:
What does the flu shot do?
Getting a flu shot causes your body to produce antibodies in about two weeks that fight the flu. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.
Should you get the flu shot even if it’s the “wrong” strain?
Yes. You may have heard that this year, the flu shot contains the “wrong strain.” A good match means that the viruses circulating during the season and the viruses in the vaccines are closely related. However, even though this year’s strain isn’t a close match, the vaccine can still provide some protection.
How effective is the flu shot?
This year, the strain of the flu that seems to be most prevalent is influenza A in the form of H3N2. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the 2018 flu shot is about 30% effective against this strain. Regardless, even if you do get the flu, the vaccine could help make the symptoms milder.
So, it’s too late to get the flu shot?
No: flu season typically peaks from December to February, but it can last until May, according to the CDC.
Visit your closest CareWell for the flu shot or, if you’re beginning to display flu-like symptoms, all locations are open extended hours and weekends.