KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It’s not quite fall and it’s not officially flu season, but if you’ve passed by any pharmacies lately, you may have noticed signs letting you know flu shots are available.
With it still feeling like summer, is it too soon to get a flu vaccine?
The CDC says flu activity right now is low but East Tennessee health professionals say it’s a good idea to get ahead of flu season by getting the shot.
Even while busy with school, UT student Dakota Makres worries about getting sick, “I don’t have time for the flu.”
It’s why Makres says he got the flu shot a few days ago.
“I think it takes about, what, two weeks for it to take effect? So, I thought the earlier, the better, because I know we’re about to hit flu season in October or November and you know what? I’m prepared,” he said.
Pharmacists at Belew Drug say now is the perfect time to start preparing. Getting the flu shot ahead of flu season allows your system to build up antibodies.
“The flu is not something you need to play around with. It’s a very serious illness that kills thousands of people in the United States ever year. So, I really encourage folks to get that flu shot,” said Dr. Jamie Price.
Health professionals at the Knox County Health Department say anyone age 6 months and older should get vaccinated.
“You can typically get a flu shot almost anywhere at this point,” said Karen Treece, Clinical Nurse Program Manager at KCHD.
Treece says if you get vaccinated for the flu now, you’ll be protected throughout flu season.
“It’s not a perfect tool but it’s the best tool we have to prevent people from getting sick and potentially dying,” she said.
For Makres, preparing this early comes with good reason.
“A few years ago my mom got really sick and it really ruined her immune system,” he shared. “So, I thought I need to get the flu shot to prepare myself and to protect her.”
Habits to get into before flu season
- Thoroughly wash your hands
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect things like your phone, iPad, and keyboard
- Try not to share pens
- Create barriers with paper towel or napkins when pumping gas or punching in debit card information
The CDC points out that seasonal influenza viruses are detected year-round in the U.S. and the exact timing and length of this upcoming flu season varies.