How to prepare for flu season

Dr. Kwong said that people in high risk For complications of the flu, including those who are pregnant, 65 years of age or older, or those with medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes, may want to get a flu shot as soon as possible. People who live in parts of the United States that have had moderate or high flu activity, such as Texas, New Mexico, Delaware, and Georgia, should also get vaccinated as soon as possible. (To see what the flu is like where you live, scroll down to the map above this site.)

The experts I spoke to if you’re not at high risk for complications and flu activity is low, and if you’re the type of person who likes to optimize your protection against the flu, then wait a little longer. another month or two might be a wise choice. with said. Dr Nuzzo said she usually gets her flu shot in October, while Dr Kwong said he usually waits until November.

Waiting could make sense as people are more likely to experience the flu virus in winter than in early fall – and the likelihood of it being worse, said Emily Martin, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Michigan. The protection provided by the flu vaccine will fade over time. of Public Health.

Dr. Martin and her colleagues published a study in 2021 showed that the flu shot’s ability to protect against flu-induced hospitalization was reduced by 8 to 9% per month after vaccination for four flu seasons. One year 2019 research reported that the incidence of influenza increased by 16% every 28 days since vaccination. This is relevant because last year’s flu season, flu was still spreading in Steps are, April and even June in some parts of the US, perhaps because people are increasing travel and easing Covid restrictions. Dr Kwong said: “If you get your flu vaccine in August or if you get it in September, you may not be protected against flu during the spring and early summer months.

That said, the vaccine may still give you partial protection after seven or eight months, says Dr. So don’t worry if you’ve been vaccinated. She added: “Getting a flu shot early is better than not getting it at all.

Even if the flu hasn’t spread where you live, experts recommend wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces. “Masks help reduce the spread of many respiratory viruses, not just the flu,” explains Dr. Martin, and in early fall there can be 20 or more viruses, Dr. Martin explains. circulating due to back-to-school contagion, she said. Dr. Kwong recommends wearing a high-quality, well-fitting mask, such as an N95, KN95, or KF94. If that’s not possible, surgical masks offer better protection than cloth masks, but cloth is better than nothing, he said.

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