Now that kids are back in school, it’s time to start thinking about getting your annual flu shot.
October through March are the peak months for influenza in the United States, and health officials say the earlier you get vaccinated the better.
“Once you’ve had the flu, you’ll get your shot because you won’t want to feel that bad again,” said Rosa Pones, health services administrator for the Brownsville school district.
She said it’s important to get a flu shot every year because strains of the disease change from year to year, and last year’s shot won’t do you any good this year.
It just makes sense for people to get vaccinated, Pones said.
“If one person in an office has it and they’re touching everything, the flu spreads,” she said. “For the good of all of us, everyone should get their flu shot.”
As a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act, the shot is fully covered and available at no cost through most insurance plans.
Most area pharmacies including Walgreens, CVS, H-E-B, Autrey and Walmart pharmacies provide the vaccinations for $25 to $30 if not covered by insurance.
Angela Hernandez, head nurse for internal medicine at the Brownsville Community Health Center, said besides a flu shot, common-sense personal hygiene like regular hand washing, eating a healthy diet and drinking enough water can help stop the disease from spreading.
“It’s a viral disease, so antibiotics won’t work,” she said. “A flu shot will lower your risk, but your body has to fight off its own viral infections. If you do have the flu, you should stay at home. Be respectful to the community and to the public.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over 6 months old receive an influenza vaccination as soon as possible because it takes about two weeks after receiving the shot for a person’s body to build immunity.