(WOOD) — Doctors say now is the best time to get your top line of defense against seasonal flu, which leads to thousands of deaths each year.
For patients six months and up, health experts say a flu shot is your best prevention.
“The key with giving the shot is the earlier you can get it, the better,” Dr. Mark Goedecker tells WTNH.
This year, the flu mist is not an option, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients can only get the vaccine, which contains an inactivated flu vaccine that covers four strains this year: H1N1, H3N2 and two versions of the influenza B virus.
Flu season normally peaks in January and February, but cases pop up now through May. That’s why the CDC recommends getting the flu shot by October.
The vaccine takes two weeks to take effect. The CDC says people should get the vaccine every year because the body’s immune response from the vaccine declines over time, and the strains of flu that are most prevalent can change each season.
“I give it to both my kids,” said Goedecker. “I think that, as a doctor, when I tell a patient that I’m giving it to my kids, I think it’s that important I get it every year. That’s the biggest thing I can say. You should get the flu shot.”
Children will need two shots if they are getting vaccinated for the first time. A child who has previously been vaccinated only needs one shot.