Flu season won’t officially get underway for about another month, but healthcare officials say it’s not too early to begin vaccinations. 

“Flu vaccinations are already available at some locations locally. My office typically starts offering vaccinations in late September,” said Dr. Kelly Doggett. ”The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend vaccinations for flu be administered before the end of October so protective antibodies have time to develop before peak flu season, which usually takes two to four weeks.”

The CDC says that about eight percent of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu each year, with children and seniors over the age of 65 at a greater risk.  

It recommends that people should get the flu vaccine before the flu begins spreading across your community.

Influenza killed about 80,000 in the 2017-2018 season, according to the CDC.

“Studies show post vaccination antibody levels decline somewhat over the course of the season, but nobody knows exactly when flu season will hit in a given year,” Doggett said. “Waiting to get vaccinated until what is statistically considered the best time may lead to missed opportunities for some individuals and cause them to go without protection. 

“Getting vaccinated very early or late in the season is better than not getting vaccinated at all. Within reason, there is really not a bad time to get a flu shot.” 

WHERE TO GET A FLU SHOT

CVS and Walgreens are already offering flu shots and no appointment is necessary. Just walk in and get it done.

Other local emergency clinics and doctor’s offices will also administer the shot by making an appointment. 

FLU SYMPTOMS

According to the CDC, the flu is different from a cold and usually comes on suddenly. 

Symptoms may include:

• Fever

• Cough

• Sore throat

• Runny or stuffy nose

• Muscle or body aches

• Fatigue

• In some cases, diarrhea and vomiting