The 2018 Flu Shot Season is About to Begin

We’re still reeling from last year’s tough flu season, and here we are, prepping for the coming year.

It’s officially fall now, and flu season is set to start mid-to-late-October and may last until May. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says everyone should get their flu shots by the end of October.

Here’s some more information about the coming flu season, courtesy of the CDC:

Which viruses will this year’s flu vaccines help prevent?

The main flu-like viruses included in this year’s three-component doses are:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus

The four-component vaccines should contain the three strains above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.

There is no way to predict which viruses will be especially strong each fall and winter, but these strains are the ones most likely to make their appearance in the next few months.

Which vaccine is the best option for seniors?

There are two great options for older people, to help their bodies create a stronger immune response.

These are:

  • a high-dose shot, known as Fluzone High-Dose
  • a shotsmade with adjuvant, known as FLUAD

When should seniors get vaccinated?

If you live in a senior community, or in close quarters with many other people, you should get your flu shot as early as you can. It takes around two weeks from receiving the vaccine to achieve immunity, so you want to be fully protected before the season begins.

Even if you don’t get the vaccine before the end of October, you can still get it later. In fact, you can take it all through the winter if you are unable to do it earlier.

What should I do if I’m allergic to eggs?

Since most flu vaccines contain traces of eggs, here’s what the CDC advises for those with egg allergy:

If you’ve only had hives in response to egg exposure, you can take any vaccine with no concern of a reaction.

If you’ve had more serious symptoms—such as respiratory distress, lightheadedness or vomiting—or if you’ve needed other emergency intervention in response to egg exposure, you should receive the the vaccine in a medical setting under the supervision of a health care provider familiar with allergic conditions and their treatment.

Can I still get the flu after I receive the vaccination?

Yes, it’s possible to catch the virus even if you’ve been vaccinated. You can even catch it on “off seasons.” Make sure to follow proper hand-washing protocol at all times, to reduce your chances even further.