It takes minutes to prevent getting an illness that could lead to days off work, weeks of feeling awful, an extensive hospitalization stays, or even death.  Flu season runs October through May, and doctors recommend that all people more than six months old get vaccinated against this year’s seasonal flu.

It takes just a few minutes to get a flu shot.  Many medical offices, such as Woodridge Clinic, don’t require appointments to walk in and request a vaccine that can prevent the flu, and the consequent symptoms of fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches, and fatigue.

Woodridge Clinic urges people to get the vaccine now, to be prepared for flu outbreaks.  Although flu activity peaks traditionally in January or later, October outbreaks are possible.  Flu protection isn’t immediate, as it takes the body two weeks after vaccination to develop antibodies.  People can’t get the flu from the vaccine, as the virus is inactive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Influenza is a serious disease.  Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.”

The vaccine protects against the flu viruses that research indicates will be the most common in the upcoming months.  A flu vaccine is needed each year, as the flu virus changes, and the vaccine is updated to address the current virus.

The CDC adds that the flu vaccination is especially important for people at a greater risk of getting seriously ill from the flu, including older adults, people suffering from chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and young children.

Private manufacturers produce the flu vaccine and have projected that they will supply between 171-179 million doses for the U.S. market, according to the CDC.