HEALTHY LIVING — September means it’s time to get YOUR flu shot

Published 12:02 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

With the end of summer, flu season is on the horizon. In fact, during a recent trip to urgent care, I was told they are already seeing flu cases.

Actually, flu can happen year-round, more is seen in the cooler months. By Sept. 1, all pharmacies should have their new flu shot dosages in stock. Please, go get one.

I cannot stress enough the importance of getting that flu shot. There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing.

The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Preliminary estimates show last season people who were vaccinated against the flu were 40-70 percent less likely to be hospitalized because of flu-related illnesses.

Older adults with underlying conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, are at highest risk for developing life-threatening complications from the flu. Federal health officials recommend specific flu vaccines for people age 65 and older: Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, Flublok Quadrivalent and Fluad Quadrivalent.

The flu causes young children to go to the hospital more than any other vaccine-preventable disease. A flu vaccination is good for children 6 months and older.

The best way to keep your family safe is to get a flu shot each year

People with egg allergy may get any vaccine (egg-based or non-egg-based) that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health status. Previously, it was recommended that people with severe allergy to egg (those who have had any symptom other than hives with egg exposure) be vaccinated in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting.

Beginning with the 2023-2024 season, additional safety measures are no longer recommended for flu vaccination of people with an egg allergy beyond those recommended for receipt of any vaccine, regardless of the severity of previous reaction to egg. All vaccines should be given in settings where allergic reactions can be recognized and treated quickly.

Vaccine options this season include:

All flu vaccines for the 2023-2024 season will be quadrivalent (four-component).

Most will be thimerosal-free or thimerosal-reduced vaccines (91 percent), and about 21 percent of flu vaccines will be egg-free.

Ask your doctor what will work best for you.

Flu and other vaccines are required to be covered by your health insurance without charging a copayment or coinsurance. But, be sure to check with your insurance company to find out if you must go to a specific facility to receive the vaccine.

We get ours the first week of September each year, at a local pharmacy. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early, before the current flu season begins.

CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout flu season, even into January or later.

Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs.

If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others. In addition, there are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza illness.

Common sense, good self-care, and a flu shot will go a long way towards keeping you healthy.

Get your flu shot early, protect yourself and your loved ones.

Jody Holton writes about health for Orange Newsmedia. She can be reached at