If you're one of those people who brag, come flu season, that you "never, ever get sick," be aware: The odds may catch up to you. Every year, about 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get influenza, according to estimates from the CDC.
Taking certain antiviral drugs within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms can shorten the duration of the flu, but that involves recognizing you have the flu, getting in touch with your doctor, and going to the pharmacist before the 48 hours is up.
Just in case your number...
It’s a shot that protects you from the flu virus. You normally get it in your arm, but you can also get it as a nasal spray. It’s made from the three or four flu viruses that are most likely to make you sick during the upcoming year.
Who Should Get It?
Almost everyone 6 months of age and older.
Some people are more at risk of getting very sick from complications of the flu than others. These groups should be sure to get a flu shot each year:
Children, especially from 6 months of age to the age of 5
Seniors over age 65
People with existing health conditions
Travelers and people living abroad
The following people should not get a flu shot:
Children under 6 months old
People who are very allergic to the flu shot or any of its ingredients
Talk to your doctor before you get the shot if you have any of these symptoms:
An allergy to eggs or any of the other ingredients in the vaccine
A history of Guillian-Barre syndrome
If you’re just not feeling well
When Should I Get It?
As soon as they become available, by October, if possible. It’s best to get the vaccine before the flu season starts. But you can still get it in January or even later.