Six great reasons to get the flu shot early

One thing you can be sure of is that the flu season will come every year. And sure, the peak flu season is a pretty long span of time – typically from October through March every year – but that does not mean you should wait to get vaccinated. Waiting is a bad idea.

Health, safety, convenience – there are plenty of reasons to get your flu shot as early as you possibly can. Here are six of the best ones.

1. The start of the flu season is unpredictable

“We never know if and when influenza will be prevalent in the community each year. For that reason, it makes sense to get vaccinated early so that you’re protected in the event that influenza hits early,” says Stephen Hippler, MD, chief clinical officer for OSF HealthCare.

So the flu might not hit your community hard until January, or it might arrive tomorrow. There is no way to predict when flu season will begin. Get vaccinated now and breathe easy for the rest of flu season.

2. Peel the bandage fast

Like ripping the bandage off really fast, you know you have to do it, so do it quick and get it over with.

Maybe not everybody has a crippling fear of needles, but most of us can agree that we don’t enjoy getting a shot. So, get it out of your way. Get the flu shot now and you won’t have to think about it again for another year. Avoid spending weeks dreading the needle and knowing you have to get poked anyway.

3. The vaccine lasts the entire flu season

Getting the flu shot early doesn’t mean you will need to get a second one before the flu season is up.

The immunity to the flu, which the flu shot helps you build up, does decline over time. That’s why you need to get vaccinated every year. However, the effects of the vaccine should last well beyond the length of the flu season.

4. Get it out of the way before the busy holiday season takes up all your time

Thanksgiving is on the way, with Christmas fast on its heels. According to one famous song, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s approaching quickly. Soon, we will all be short on time with a long to-do list we need to complete to prepare for the holidays.

When you’re overloaded with holiday preparations, the last thing you need is to try and squeeze in a quick flu shot, too. Or worse, you could get stuck in bed for a week or longer with the flu. So get the flu shot now, before you even need to worry about your Halloween plans.

5. It takes time to build up resistance to the flu

Getting the flu shot does not make you immediately immune to the influenza virus.

Once you receive the vaccine, it takes your body two weeks to build up the antibodies it needs to protect you from infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During that time, you can still get the flu. The earlier you get the flu shot, the better the chance your body will be ready to defend itself when flu season arrives.

6. Bragging rights

So maybe you weren’t the first person at work to get the latest smartphone. Don’t worry, there will be another chance soon. There always is. Until then, you can be the first person at work to get this year’s latest flu vaccine.

Show off that bandage on your shoulder and watch everyone try to hide their jealousy.

Talk to your primary care physician about when and where to get your flu shot.

Last Updated: October 5, 2023

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About Author: Ken Harris

Ken Harris is the proudest father and was a writing coordinator for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare.

He has a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a daily newspaper reporter for four years before leaving the field and eventually finding his way to OSF HealthCare.

In his free time, Ken likes reading, fly fishing, hanging out with his dog and generally pestering his lovely, patient wife.

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Categories: Preventive Health