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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Flu Shots and Urgency

#flushots usually don't come with a sense of urgency. They pretty much sell themselves in the fall. Get one, help prevent flu. Don't get one, run the risk of getting sick. We start offering them in August and peak shot season is October. I always wonder why people wait until January or February to get one; which is often peak flu season. There is nothing like a media frenzy to stir up interest. With the flu exploding now, everyone seems to want a flu shot who didn't get one months ago. Why? Because there is a lot of misunderstanding out there. True, if you haven't received one yet, you are still better off getting one now than not. However, keep in mind that it takes two weeks to reach full efficacy. If you have been exposed to the flu anywhere prior to its maximum effect, you can still get the flu. The symptoms may be less severe, but you can still get it. (Which is many times why people think they get the flu from the flu shot-which is quite impossible.) Many people expected the flu to arrive in a month or two. It didn't. It came early. There is no reason to wait as late as possible to get your flu shot. Next year, be the first in line in August.
Let's look at this another way. Waiting until now to get a flu shot, which has been offered for months, is like putting on a condom today, after having unprotected sex for the last 5 months. Sure, it will work going forward, but it doesn't offer protection against any previous exposures.

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