In the last few weeks of summer, it's hard to imagine the flu season is right around the corner. You may have noticed a big push the last couple of weeks to get your vaccination.
In the Tri-Cities, the flu season usually peaks in the winter months, around January to February.
News 5 did a little digging and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there's going to be close to 150 million doses of flu vaccine for the 2012-2013 season.
The signs are hard to miss, stores telling customers now is the perfect time to arm yourself against the flu. "You want to start getting your immunizations before the flu season gets here. So for the next two to three months it's the right time to begin getting influenza vaccinations," said Doctor Bruce Gibbon.
At Bristol Regional Medical Center, Doctor Gibbon says a flu shot could last for a year or more. But the virus is always changing, that's why every year you need to get another shot and this year is just as unpredictable. "There's a new strain that's coming out and it's possible that our immunization from prior years won't be as effective. So we may have a more serious flu season," added Doctor Gibbon.
According to the CDC it takes nearly two weeks for the vaccine to start working in your body. Doctor Gibbon recommends high risk groups like children, the elderly, or those with weak immune systems, get vaccinated as soon as possible. "Influenza is a virus so it's transmitted by contact, it's a respiratory virus. So you try and practice good hygiene, wash your hands, cover your face when you sneeze," said Doctor Gibbon.
Doctors say there's a good chance we're all going to be exposed at some point. A simple shot is the best and easiest way to stay protected.
Places like Food City, local pharmacies, and several Health Departments in our region are already offering flu vaccines. It's also a good idea to check with your doctor before getting vaccinated.