Dr Kwong said people at higher risk for flu complications, including women who are pregnant, aged 65 or over, or have asthma, heart disease or diabetes, may want to get a flu shot as soon as possible. People who live in areas of the United States that already have moderate or high influenza activity, such as Texas, New Mexico, Delaware, and Georgia, should also get vaccinated as soon as possible. (To see flu activity like where you live, scroll to the map on This Webpage.)
For the best protection, some people may want to wait.
If you’re not at high risk for complications and influenza activity is low where you live, and if you’re the type of person who likes better protection against the flu, waiting another month or two may be a smart choice, said experts I spoke with. . Dr Nozo said she usually gets her flu shot in October, while Dr Kwong said he often waits until November.
The wait might make sense because people are more likely to catch the flu virus in winter rather than early fall – and the protection offered by the flu vaccine wanes over time, said Emily Martin, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. General health.
Dr. Martin and his colleagues published a 2021 study that found that the ability of the flu vaccine to protect against hospitalization caused by influenza declined by 8-9% each month after vaccination for four flu seasons. A 2019 study reported that the chances of getting the flu increased by 16% every 28 days after vaccination. This is important given that last flu season it was still circulating on April and even June in parts of the US, possibly due to increased travel and the easing of Covid restrictions. Dr. Kwong said that if you got the flu shot in August or September, you might not be protected against the flu in the spring and early summer.
Dr. Martin said the vaccine might partially protect you after seven or eight months. So don’t worry if you have already received your vaccine. She added that getting the flu shot early is better than not getting it at all.
Wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces and wash your hands regularly.
Even if the flu hasn’t spread where you live yet, experts recommend wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces. “Concealment helps limit the spread of many respiratory viruses, not just the flu,” Dr. Martin explained, and by early fall there could be 20 or more viruses circulating due to the spread of the flu. Back to School. Dr. Kwong recommended wearing high-quality, well-fitting masks, such as N95, KN95, or KF94. If that’s not possible, surgical masks are more protective than cloth masks, but cloth is better than none at all, he said.