The flu shot is one of the best ways to protect against the latest influenza virus each year, which means patients should stay at the ready to get a flu shot ASAP.

Once a patient receives a flu shot, their body’s immune begins to develop protection against the virus and the various symptoms; sneezing, headache, fever, coughing, nausea, and fatigue are just a few common symptoms for most patients. However, without an updated flu shot the most vulnerable patients including elderly patients and those with respiratory conditions could experience hospitalizations.

In addition, the flu virus hospitalizes thousands of patients each year and leads to over 40 million flu-related viruses across the United States. Patients will want to ensure that they get the latest flu shot in order to avoid illnesses before the peak of flu season. But it may not be the easiest to effectively determine when it is the appropriate time to get a flu shot. Here are just a few factors that can help patients understand the best time for a flu shot.

Seasonal changes usually lead into the peak of flu season

The flu season usually peaks around early September or mid-October, based on CDC flu surveillance and general seasonal patterns. Patients will want to get their flu shot once many urgent care centers and walk-in clinics are able to provide an updated flu for visitors.

The sooner a patient gets a flu shot, the more protected they will be once peak flu season comes. Since the flu season may come earlier or later than other sites, it could be a beneficial opportunity to get the shot ASAP.

Follow community updates to see if there is an extended flu outbreak near you!

Whenever the flu season begins, you should follow community updates to maintain awareness of any extended flu outbreaks near you. Local news stations, public health officials, and similar experts can help provide updates on whether or nor the flu is more virulent than normal in your community. When this happens, get your flu shot at an urgent care center immediately.

Get a flu shot if you know that you’ll be in higher-contact areas for the virus

The flu spreads quickly in highly-populated indoor areas where it moves quickly from host to host. During the fall and winter, flu cases are likely to jump significantly as patients experience more time indoors. If you work, take classes, or do any activities indoors for prolonged periods of time, then you should get the flu shot once it becomes available.

With a flu shot, you won’t have to worry about all those uncomfortable symptoms, missing time from school and work, and the other pesky outcomes of cold/flu symptoms. Simply visit a local walk-in clinic to get your shot fast!