Flu Shots in Aurora, Boulder & Denver Metro
Now is the time to get your flu shot. While the Centers for Disease Control recommend everybody gets a flu shot, typically less than half of people do so. The overwhelming consensus of medical professionals is that the benefits of flu vaccination outweigh the minimal side effects. Sometimes, people avoid getting their flu shot as a general distrust of vaccines. Most often, it’s the time and hassle of figuring out when and where to get the flu shot.
Rocky Mountain Urgent Care and Family Medicine wanted to give patients and families in Denver the information and resources they need to get their flu shots reliably, quickly, and safely. We also offer tips on how to get the most effective protection against influenza from this year’s flu shot.
When is the Best Time to Get Flu Shots?
The end of October is the best and most generally agreed upon time. While the CDC has long suggested that people get their flu shots no later than the end of October, research in the last few years shows that the effectiveness of the flu shot wanes as the season goes on. Thus, people who get their flu shots at the beginning of the season are more likely to catch the tail end of the infectious season. However, while the flu shot isn’t 100% effective in immunizing against influenza strains, there is also evidence to suggest that flu symptoms aren’t as severe, on average, for people who got a flu shot.
So wait too long, and you could be among the first—and hardest hit—by this year’s flu. According to the Colorado Flu Report, there were already 17 hospitalizations this flu season by October 19th. Another reason not to wait too long to get your flu shot is the limited supply. While you should be able to find providers with shots available throughout the entire flu season, your preferred location may run out.
How Long does a Flu Shot Last for?
The end of October might sound early for a vaccine that wears off, but it also takes about two weeks for your body to build up the antibodies that create the immunity. After two weeks, this immunity will very gradually wear off over a period of about 6 months. According to research from Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC), the vaccine is about 16 percent less effective for every 4 weeks after the flu shot takes effect. Thus, by timing your flu shot right, you should be able to enjoy strong immunity against the flu throughout the holiday and winter travel season.
Why is Getting a Flu Shot Important?
The most obvious benefit is a lower chance of getting the flu—about 40 to 60 percent lower. More than just avoiding a trip to the doctor’s office, the flu vaccine reduces your chances of hospitalization, complications with chronic conditions, and death. There is also some evidence to suggest that the flu shot lowers the risk of some cardiac events, diabetes, and chronic lung disease. Unless you’ve experienced a rare and severe allergic reaction to vaccinations in the past, the flu shot is beneficial for everybody including young children, the elderly, and pregnant women. Learn more about the research supporting the benefits of the flu vaccine from the CDC.
Differences between the Flu and Covid-19
From the CDC Website
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.
Both COVID-19 and flu has varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms shared by COVID-19 and flu include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain or body aches
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, including common signs and symptoms listed above.
Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19, different from flu, may include change in or loss of taste or smell.