This year is already shaping up to be a bad one for the flu. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has already reported an early spike in influenza-like activity across the country. While it’s generally recommended that everyone over six months old get a flu shot, the protection is most effective when given at least two weeks before flu season starts. Here’s what to know about where to get a flu shot in 2021, who needs one, the best time to get one, and everything else about the upcoming flu season.
When do I need to get a flu shot?
Ideally, you can get yours before the end of October. The CDC recommends getting your vaccine by Thanksgiving. However, they are also pragmatic about the fact that not everyone will be able to make it to the doctor’s office by then. Flu shots are typically available from November through March. Here’s where you can find flu shot locations:
Most private practices will offer flu shots at their locations, though it’s always smart to call ahead to make sure. You can also search for the flu shot on their personal websites.
Community health departments, including county health departments
Search these sites using zip code or city and state. This site offers a tool to find community health centers in your area that provide flu vaccines. You can also search for flu shot clinics online.
TIP: If possible, go in the morning when clinics are less busy.
So what should you do if you get the flu?
Follow these steps:
- Rest and recover
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Rely on medicine to relieve symptoms
- If symptoms keep you home from work or school for at least 24 hours, stay home and rest until your doctor says it’s OK to return
- If you have a fever or other symptoms, stay home from work or school for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides