Don't Put Off Getting Your Flu Shot

Don't Put Off Getting Your Flu Shot

Current estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the 2022-2023 flu season show a higher number of cases and deaths than the previous few flu seasons. During the pandemic, flu cases were down due to the steps taken to prevent COVID-19. Now flu cases are on the rise.

These 2022-2023 flu season numbers show that we can’t let our guard down:

  • 27 million to 54 million illnesses
  • 12 million to 26 million flu-related medical visits
  • 300,000 to 650,000 hospitalizations
  • 19,000 to 58,000 deaths (including over 150 children)

Getting a flu shot can help keep you from being a statistic. The CDC says most people who are six months old or older should get a yearly flu shot. Flu shots are especially important for children. A 2022 study leaving site icon showed that flu vaccination reduced children’s risk of getting severe, life-threatening flu by 75 percent.

For the best protection, the CDC says you should get your flu shot in September or October. It takes about two weeks for the shot to start protecting you. That’s why you shouldn’t wait until the flu season is raging to get your shot.

Why Get a Flu Shot?

There are many reasons leaving site icon that getting a flu shot is a good idea. If you’re not vaccinated, you can get the flu from someone who doesn’t know they have it yet. You could also spread it before you know you have it.

In some cases, the flu can result in serious complicationsleaving site icon Sinus and ear infections are moderate complications. But it can also have severe complications like pneumonia and inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissue.

Even an average case of the flu means weeks of fever, severe headaches, and muscle aches and pains. Avoiding that makes the flu shot worth your time. Another benefit: for those who do get sick, the vaccine lessens the severity of the symptoms.

Your decision to get a flu shot will also help protect other members of your community. That includes older people, children and pregnant women. It also includes people of all ages who have health problems like asthma or diabetes. They’re all among those who have the highest risk of getting serious, even life-threatening, complications if they get the flu.

Get your flu shot. It’s worth it

COVID-19 and Flu

It is possible to have COVID-19 and flu at the same timeleaving site icon To help protect yourself, get the recommended flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

The federal COVID-19 public health emergency ended in May, but the coronavirus is still lurking. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations. It suggests:

  • A single, age-appropriate, annual mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for most individuals
  • One, two or three doses of a bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for children six months to ages 4 or 5

The number of COIVD-19 vaccine doses depend on age, along with the number and type of prior COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Sources: 2022-2023 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary In-Season Burden Estimates, leaving site icon CDC, 2023; Influenza (Flu): What are the benefits of flu vaccination?, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2022; Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2021-2022 Season, leaving site icon CDC, 2020; Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine, leaving site icon CDC, 2022; Seasonal Flu and COVID-19, leaving site icon CDC, 2022; Vaccine Effectiveness Against Life-Threatening Influenza Illness in US Children, leaving site icon Clinical Infectious Diseases, a journal of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2022; COVID Data Tracker, leaving site icon CDC, 2023; Updated Recommendations for COVID-19 Vaccine Use, leaving site icon CDC, 2023

Originally published 7/27/2020; Revised 2022, 2023