Why Do I Need a Flu Shot This Year?

As fall begins, you should begin to make preparations for the coming colder months: checking winter clothes and coats to make sure they fit and zippers are all in working order, making sure your heat system is working at home, and getting an annual flu shot from AFC Urgent Care Lakewood. The flu shot is available seven days a week to walk-in patients at our urgent care center. Getting a flu shot this year is more important than past flu seasons due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, a similar respiratory infection. The flu shot is the most effective way to prevent contracting the flu virus this year. 

When can I get the flu shot?

It is recommended to get the flu shot between September and mid-October in order to make sure you are protected for the duration of the season. The flu shot provides immunity for about six months, or the duration of flu season, and takes up to two weeks to take effect. By getting your flu shot before the end of October, you will be able to make sure you are immune to the most common strains of the influenza virus before it hits its peak between December and March.

Why do I need an updated flu shot each year?

The influenza viruses evolve and mutate quickly, with different strains prevalent each year. The vaccination prompts your body to create antibodies, an immune response to the virus. However, they do not protect against every strain and can even fade in effectiveness over time. By getting the flu shot each year, you make sure you are immune which prevents you from getting sick and spreading the virus to others. 

Who should get a flu shot?

The flu shot is recommended for almost all patients over the age of six months, with few exceptions. Patients who are allergic to eggs or have previously had adverse reactions to the flu vaccine should consult with their physician about alternative flu prevention measures. Patients who are considered high-risk for complications from the virus should get a flu shot early in the season in order to make sure they are protected for the duration of flu season. Consult with your physician to see if a second dose of the flu vaccine is recommended. High-risk individuals include:

  • Older adults (60+)
  • Pregnant women
  • Younger children
  • Patients with compromised or weakened immune systems
  • Patients with chronic health conditions including asthma, diabetes, cancer or HIV

Can I get sick from the flu vaccine?

You cannot get sick or catch the flu from getting the vaccination, though you are still at risk for two weeks after getting the shot. You may develop mild flu-like symptoms for a number of reasons, including as a reaction to the virus, a strain not covered by the vaccine and other viruses and illnesses such as the common cold. 

What are flu prevention options besides the flu shot?

While the flu shot offers the highest and most effective levels of protection against the flu virus, there are other steps you can take to avoid both the flu and other viruses such as the cold and COVID. Some of the precautions you can take include:

  • Washing your hands frequently throughout the day with antibacterial soap and running water for at least 20 seconds
  • Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable
  • Avoiding crowds or being in close contact with anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of illness 
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or the crook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze and wearing a mask over your mouth and nose when in public areas
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, sports drinks and soups

Walk-In Flu Shots in Lakewood, Littleton & Golden, CO

If you are looking for ways to prevent falling ill this flu season, visit AFC Urgent Care Lakewood for a walk-in flu shot today! The flu shot is covered by most major insurance carriers, with low-cost vaccines available for self-pay patients. Walk-in visits are accepted seven days a week, and our center is open extended evening hours for your convenience. For more information, please call (303) 988-3600.