CDC doctor: It's never too early, get your flu shot now

CDC doctor: It's never too early, get your flu shot now

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It comes every year, whether we want it to or not – flu season. This year, health officials are advising you to protect yourself early.

While it might seem a bit early to be talking about flu season, Dr. Ann Schuchat, from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says it's never too early.

"Last year, we had a pretty bad influenza season. It came pretty early and it came pretty hard, and we had increased demand for flu vaccine. We actually practically ran out," she said.

Flu vaccines have already arrived at many community clinics and doctors' offices. The doctor says you should get vaccinated as soon as possible. The vaccines don't wear off and are formulated to fight the worst of the worst.

Dr. Schuchat said, "There are vaccines that contain two different B strains. We're calling that quadravalent because it targets four different types of flu."

Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. According to the CDC, on average, between 5 percent and 20 percent of Americans get the flu. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications each year.

Dr. Schuchat says she recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated; especially, the very young and the very old. They are considered to be the most at risk.

"Vaccines are best way to protect from infectious diseases. We're lucky to have these vaccines that can keep us from getting sick or even if we don't get infected, reduce the severity of illness," Dr. Schuchat said.

Most insurance plans cover the cost of a flu shot. But, even if you don't have insurance, many drug stores offer the vaccination for as low as $20. You don't need to make an appointment.

More info:
HealthMap Vaccine Finder: Enter your zip code to find a flu vaccination near you

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