RENO, Nev. (KOLO) – Based on what’s happening in the Southern Hemisphere, this year’s flu season may be severe.
“Australia did just conclude influenza season, which came out to be the worst in the preceding five years,” said Kiya Mohadjer, Infectious Diseases Pharmacy Clinical Specialist at Renown Health.
He explains that Australia is kind of a “crystal ball” into what the fall and winter months can look like for us, and with that being said, now is the time to build your immune system.
“Ideally, we would get everyone vaccinated by the end of October to ensure a sustainable immune response throughout the influenza season,” said Mohadjer.
Like many other vaccines, the effectiveness of the flu shot fades each month.
“There was a study recently in the Clinical Infectious Disease that suggested it may wane by seven to eight percent, but again that’s one study,” said Cheryl Hug-English, M.D. medical director of the Student Health Center at UNR.
In our area, the flu season usually begins in late September or early October and peaks around December and January.
If the study is correct, getting the vaccine now will ensure you have enough protection for the next five to six months.
“It’ll also depend on the strain of the virus,” said Hug-English.
If you can’t get your shot now, experts agree it’s never too late.
However, if you plan to travel this holiday season know that antibodies to fight the flu take about two weeks after the initial shot to develop.
Surveys indicate fewer people plan to get the vaccine compared to last year. One reason is not knowing if they can get the flu and COVID booster at the same time.
“It is okay to get both the COVID booster, one of the new boosters and the flu shot on the same day, “ said Hug-English. “The one recommendation I would have is to get them in different arms.”
You can also get vaccinated at the Washoe County Health District. For information on how to schedule an appoint, go to: https://www.washoecounty.gov/health/programs-and-services/cchs/immunization-program/index.php#hours
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