Getting a Flu Shot: What’s the Best Time to Get One?

getting a flut shot

The flu is not sniffles and chills. As many as 12 million Americans got sick from the flu during the 2021-2022 flu season, and thousands died.

It is essential that you consider getting a flu shot this flu season. Yet you shouldn’t get one at this moment. You should do your research and time your vaccination so it protects you for months.

When does the flu season begin? When should you schedule an appointment to get vaccinated? How can you prepare for your shot? 

Answer these questions and you can stay safe this flu season and for many to come. Here is your quick guide. 

The Basics of the Flu Season

There are no formal dates for the flu season. Influenza activity commonly increases in October and peaks between December and February. 

Flu vaccines vary in how long they last. In general, one flu shot will last between four and six months.

This means you should get your flu vaccine close to but not well before the start of the flu season. Getting your vaccine in September or October should protect you for the majority of the season.

Keep in mind that you can catch the flu at any time of year. You should always practice basic precautions like washing your hands and not touching your face.

Requirements for Getting a Flu Shot

The CDC advises nearly everyone to get a flu shot. In particular, they recommend anyone with a compromised immune system or significant medical problem get vaccinated. However, they recommend that children younger than 6 months of age not get one, as they are too young. 

They also recommend that anyone with a life-threatening allergy to a vaccine ingredient avoid the vaccine. Gelatin and antibiotics are two common ingredients in vaccines. People with egg allergies can get a flu shot, though you may want to get your vaccine in an inpatient setting. 

Most people can use a nasal spray. However, the CDC advises that older people, people with weak immune systems, and pregnant people get injections. If you have an underlying health condition like heart disease, you should talk to your doctor before getting a nasal spray, as it may be less effective than an injection.

Timing Your Appointment

You can schedule an appointment to get your vaccine whenever it is convenient for you. Grocery and drug stores offer flu shots, and you can go to your personal physician to get one. However, there are a few factors that can affect when you make your appointment.

Other Vaccines

You can get flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. However, if you’re worried about side effects from one vaccine, you should space your vaccinations out. Two weeks give your immune system enough time to develop antibodies and mitigate side effects. 

You can also receive a flu vaccine when you receive other medical injections, including knee and steroid injections. Get your shots in different locations so you avoid skin irritation. 

You should avoid getting a flu vaccine with another vaccine, like polio. These vaccines can be too much for your immune system to handle at once. 

Illnesses

You should not get a vaccine while you are sick. Even if you think your sickness is minor, you risk stressing your immune system. Wait until your symptoms have passed before you get your flu shot.

You should also avoid getting a flu shot if you have irritated skin. Ask the person giving you your shot to inject it in an area that is not irritated. 

Many people who catch the flu assume that they have immunity from it. Though catching the flu can give you immunity to a few germs, it will not give you comprehensive immunity. Many germs can cause cases of the flu, and you can get sick again unless you get a vaccine.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Once you’ve scheduled your appointment, you should drink plenty of water. This will help you recover from the injection, and it can distribute your medication in your bloodstream. 

At your appointment, you should pull your arm out from underneath your shirt. You can choose your dominant or non-dominant arm, but most people choose their non-dominant arm so they can work and write properly. 

Try to relax your muscles so you don’t feel the needle going in. You can loosen your arm muscles by placing your hand on your hip and moving your shoulder down. 

If you have a fear of needles, you can calm yourself down with deep breathing and grounding techniques. You can also listen to music or look at a work of art while you are receiving your shot. 

Your doctor may ask you to wait for a few minutes after you get your shot. This lets you get treatment in case you experience significant side effects. 

Most people experience a sore arm and difficulty moving the arm. You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever, and you should rest your arm for a few hours. 

It is okay to feel a little hot after your shot. Feeling feverish is a sign that your body is responding to the vaccine and creating antibodies. The feverish feeling can resolve itself within a day.

The Essentials of Getting a Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot can keep you out of the hospital this winter. The flu season begins in the autumn, so you should consider getting a shot soon. Talk to your doctor about what shot you should get if you are immunocompromised or may experience side effects. 

Reschedule your appointment if you have recently gotten vaccines or are sick. Before your appointment, drink water and try to relax. Be ready for soreness and a feverish feeling afterward.

You don’t have to go far for great shots. ZG Wellness and Dermatology serves the Crestview Hills area. Make an appointment today.