This Is When You Should Get a Flu Shot, Say Doctors

"We always recommend getting the flu shot early."

Staying healthy during cold and flu season is always important, but when it coincides with a global pandemic, it's never been more critical. So when is the optimal time to get yourself inoculated with a flu shot this year? According to top doctors, September or October is the best time to get a flu shot.

"We always recommend getting the flu shot early that's in September, October. That's because flu season comes around in October. There's no exact date, just when it gets cold," Michael Richardson, MD, of One Medical, told The New York Post. "It peaks between December and February, and it can honestly last until May, it usually starts to beat out around March."

A man wrapped in a blanket sits on the couch blowing his nose with flu symptoms, as flu season overlaps with the coronavirus pandemic

Ting Ting Wong, MD, a primary car physician and infectious disease specialist at the New York-Presbyterian Medical Group Brooklyn, says it's important to get inoculated in early on before the flu season kicks into high gear because it takes two weeks for the immunity to take effect. "We do not want to have an increased number of patients with flu-like or COVID-like symptoms swarming the clinics or the hospitals, [adding to] the capacity of what we have going on right now," says Wong.

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Last year's flu season resulted in 35 million cases and over 34,000 deaths, according to CDC estimates, and similar numbers in the coming months would likely complicate the fight against COVID. In an Aug. 20th interview with JAMA Network, CDC director Robert R. Redfield, MD shared grave concerns about how COVID-19 infections and the flu could surge at the same time, and that together they could overwhelm our nation's health care systems this winter. [The] biggest fear I have, of course, with COVID and flu at the same time is that our hospital capacity could get strained," said Redfield.

So get a flu shot, and do it early. You will not just keep yourself healthy, but many around you as well. For more great health advice, know that Deficiency in This Vitamin Makes Your COVID Death Risk Soar.

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