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Fall is in the air: Get your flu shot early!

Written by Diane Archer

It’s important to get the flu shot every year, no matter how old you are. It’s particularly important, and should be a priority for older adults. With summer coming to a close, it’s time to get your flu shot!

Talk to your doctor about getting the flu shot and about whether you should get a special vaccine available for people over 65. The good news: Medicare covers the full cost of a flu shot.

Why get the flu shot now? That’s how you best protect yourself, the people you love and your community. The flu vaccine takes between two and four weeks to become effective. So, even if you get it now, it might not protect you from the flu until mid-October.

And, yes, sometimes the flu shot will not keep you from getting the flu. However, even if you get the flu, the flu shot reduces the odds that it will be a severe case. The flu shot may keep you from being hospitalized for the flu or, worse still, from being in the intensive care unit of the hospital. It also reduces your risk of death.

Many people do not realize that the flu kills thousands of people in the US each year. In 2018, 80,000 people died of  the flu. And older adults are more likely to die from the flu than younger people.

Should you wait to get the flu shot? No. No one knows whether the flu season will begin early. Can you wait? If you need to wait, the Centers for Disease Control recommends you not wait any longer than the end of October.

Virtually everyone over six months old needs the flu shot even if they have not gotten the flu before. (The only exceptions are people who are allergic to the flu vaccine.)  There is only benefit from getting the flu shot. The flu shot cannot give you the flu.

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