WebMD says "influenza causes more than 200,000 people in the U.S. to be hospitalized every year. Up to 49,000 people die each year from flu."

If you plan to get a flu vaccination this year, when is the best time to get your flu shot?  The answer is when you feel it's right for you.  While I am in no way qualified to give medical advice, your doctor is your best source to answer that question.

But you must also ask yourself, when do I typically get sick?  For me, I always get a cold around the time the windows and doors close, which is right now.  This is the time, I try to wash my hands with warm soapy water and try not to touch my face or shake people's hands. Even with the flu vaccination, take precautions to avoid getting sick.

It's more convenient than ever to get your flu shot.  It wasn't too long ago that you would have to make an appointment with your doctor or search for a flu clinic in your area.  Now, most drug store chains in the Greater Binghamton area, along with stores and even some grocery stores make it quick and easy to get that flu shot conveniently.  And most insurance plans and medicare and medicaid will pick up the cost.

According to the Huffington Post,  "this year, there are two basic types of flu vaccines: one that protects against three strains of flu, and one that protects against four."  The CDC does not recommend one over the other.  The store's representative can answer any questions you may have on the difference between the two.  Note that there is no nasal form of the shot available this year.

Here are some tips on getting your flu shot:

  • Check in advance for the hours the flue shots are administered. Most stores have specific times set aside for when the pharmacist or designated trained individual is available.  Usually this information is posted  in the store or on their web site.
  • Wear loose clothes to make it easier to get to your arm.
  • Ask questions before and after you have your shot.  You should also pick up a question and answer sheet on the possible side effects of this year's flu shot.

Here's to your health in the months ahead.