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Didn’t Get Your Flu Shot Yet? It’s Not Too Late

By Lungs, Breathing and Allergy Team | February 4, 2019 | Cleveland Clinic

We all know the old English proverb: “It’s better late than never.” But believe it or not, the saying does hold true when it comes to your annual flu shot.

Infectious disease expert Susan Rehm, MD, says it’s wise for people to get the vaccine whenever they can because there’s really no way to know for sure what type of flu season is ahead.

Influenza is certainly not a minor illness by any stretch of the imagination,” Dr. Rehm says. “We don’t know whether the flu season will be good or bad this year. We do know that the flu is predictably unpredictable. We don’t know exactly when it’s going to hit, we don’t know how hard it’s going to be.” 

A real and deadly threat

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the flu was responsible for as many as 80,000 deaths last winter.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine.

Remember: You can’t get the flu from the shot

common myth surrounding flu vaccines is that a flu shot will cause you to get the flu – but Dr. Rehm says this simply isn’t true.

“You can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine — that’s really the number one myth that’s still out there,” she says.  “Sometimes people feel a little achy for a day or two afterwards. Some people may even have a low grade fever, but that’s not influenza. That’s the body making antibodies, getting strong and getting ready to fight off the flu.”

Plus, you’re not just protecting yourself

Getting the flu vaccine serves a dual purpose — protecting yourself and others in the community — especially those who are vulnerable from suffering flu complications.

“Getting the influenza vaccine is the best thing you can do to protect yourself against influenza,” says Dr. Rehm. “And perhaps, more importantly in some settings, is the fact that the more people who get vaccinated, the less flu spreads around.” 

Flu activity typically peaks from December through February and can stick around until May. So it's not too late to protect yourself, and others.

This article was written by Lungs, Breathing and Allergy Team from Cleveland Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Lungs, Breathing and Allergy Team
Cleveland Clinic