Flu season is right around the corner and doctors say now is the time to get vaccinated.
The Wichita County Health District is encouraging everyone to get their shot before the virus becomes widespread.
Doctors we spoke to said they haven’t seen many cases so far and there have been fewer cases than there were at this time last year.
They usually see the virus peak in December and January and last through March, but they said that doesn’t mean you should put off getting vaccinated.
“Some people think, if I take it too early it’s not going to work. These vaccines are designed to last through the season so you take it early,” Dr. Ahem Mattar, at the Wichita Falls Family Health Care Center, said.
Dr. Mattar said so far the news on the flu front is good.
“The numbers look actually a little bit better than years in the past. That is encouraging to see. Hopefully that is because we are giving more vaccines and hopefully it’s a sign that it won’t be as bad of a season,” Mattar said.
While they are hopeful this year won’t be as severe, there are still certain people who need to be extra cautious.
“Typically younger children, babies, and the elderly who don’t have the immune system to combat the virus are more at risk than the general public. Also those that might have certain diseases that make more immune compromised as well,” Samantha Beard, a Pharmacist at Harvest Drug and Gift, said.
And health officials said there really is no downside of getting vaccinated.
“Some people actually still believe that the vaccine will give you the flu,” Mattar said. “The shots are all killed vaccines, virus. They are not live virus, they can never ever give you the flu.”
When it comes to the virus, you need to keep an eye out for symptoms like fever, runny nose and one of the main identifiers, body aches.
“People should get the flu shot because not only does it protect you from the flu virus, but it protects others from the flu virus as well,” Beard said.
There are other steps you can take to reduce your flu risk, too.
Keep a healthy diet, get plenty of rest, stay home if you’re feeling not feeling well, and of course, wash your hands frequently.
Keep in mind, the vaccines don’t start working immediately, it actually takes ten days to about two weeks for full immunity to kick in after you get vaccinated.