Why a Flu Shot is Important This Fall

With the start of fall comes the dreaded beginning of flu season. Getting your annual flu shot at AFC Urgent Care Thornton should be one of your many fall activities along with checking winter coats to make sure they still fit and the last rush of outdoor activities, including apple picking and pumpkin picking. The flu shot is available on a walk-in basis to patients seven days a week from AFC Urgent Care Thornton. There are a number of reasons why you should make sure you get the flu shot this year, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to being the most effective form of flu prevention, the annual flu vaccine is covered under the majority of health insurances and offered at affordable pricing for uninsured patients.  

Who should get the flu shot?

There are only a few exceptions for who should consider flu prevention alternatives to the vaccination. Patients who have previously had a negative reaction to a flu vaccine or are allergic to eggs should consult with their physician prior to getting a flu shot. The flu shot is recommended for most patients over six months old. Some patients are considered to be at higher risk for severe symptoms and complications from the virus and should make sure they get a flu shot based on physician recommendations. These patients include:

  • Patients who are older (60+)
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Childcare and healthcare providers
  • Patients who have compromised immune systems
  • Patients who have chronic health conditions 

When should I get the flu shot?

In order to make sure you have immunity for the peak of flu season, you should make time to get your flu shot between September and the end of October. The flu shot exposes your body to a weakened or dead strain of the current active strain of the influenza virus, compelling your body to begin producing antibodies that will learn to recognize and fight against the virus. It takes about two weeks for the body to produce enough antibodies for your body to be immune to the flu virus. By getting your flu shot early in the season, your body will be able to adjust before the first wave of cases start making their way through your community. The virus peaks between December and March each year.

Why does the flu shot need to be updated every year?

The flu shot is only able to provide immunity for about six months, the duration of one flu season. This is because the flu virus evolves and mutates quickly, and the strains prevalent this year may not be the same as the ones going around next year. Antibodies may weaken as time passes, and the flu shot is not designed to protect against every single strain of the flu virus. 

Will I develop symptoms from the flu vaccine?

You will not get sick from getting the flu vaccine. However, you may exhibit minor to mild flu-like symptoms for the few days after getting the shot as a reaction to the vaccine itself. You will still be vulnerable to the influenza virus until the vaccine becomes effective.

How can I prevent getting the flu without getting a flu shot?

The flu shot is the most effective and efficient way of protecting against the flu virus. However, there are many viruses that aren’t covered by the flu shot and can be prevented with measures similar to flu prevention alternatives include:

  • Frequent hand washing. You should wash your hands several times throughout the day, especially after touching communal surfaces, handling a diaper or animal waste, cooking raw food and using the restroom. Use antibacterial soap and warm to hot water, making sure you scrub for at least 30 seconds. If soap or water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill germs. Please keep in mind that hand sanitizer will only kill germs and cannot be used as an alternative to hand washing. 
  • Avoid large crowds or being around people you don’t directly live with, especially as the weather gets colder and viral illnesses become more widespread. 
  • If you feel a cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow to contain germs. 
  • Wear a mask or protective face covering in public areas covering your nose and mouth.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water every day.

Walk-In Flu Shots & Flu Treatment in Thornton, Westminster & Henderson, CO

If you are looking for a way to prevent catching the flu this fall and winter or are exhibiting symptoms of illness, visit AFC Urgent Care Thornton. Our center offers walk-in appointments seven days a week with extended hours to accommodate patient schedules. Most major insurance plans are accepted. For more information, please call 720-751-2910.