Ask AACI #2: Flu Shot and Flu Season FAQs
Ask AACI: Flu Shot and Flu Season FAQs
What do I need to know about this year’s flu shot and flu season?
In the second segment of our Ask AACI video series, Dr. Lucy Martinez shares tips.
Health and safety tips from Dr. Lucy Martinez regarding the Flu Vaccine:
- Why should people get vaccinated?
- The flu or influenza is a potentially serious illness that can sometimes result in hospitalization or even death. The flu can affect people in different ways ranging from a few days of feeling unwell to a more serious illness such as pneumonia or worsening of chronic conditions such as heart failure, diabetes or asthma. The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of getting the flu, reduce how severe your symptoms are if you get it, reduce the risk of hospitalizations and reduce the risk of death in children.
- Who should get vaccinated and when?
- Everyone who is 6 months of age or older should get a flu vaccine every year. There are very few exceptions to this recommendation and if you think you have one, please consult your primary care doctor.
- September and October are the best times to get vaccinated with everyone ideally vaccinated by the end of October.
- Older adults, meaning those 65 years or older, should not get vaccinated too early as protection can decrease with time.
- Why do we need to get the flu vaccine every year?
- Because every flu season is different and the flu virus is constantly changing, we need an annual vaccine to keep us the most protected. We also know that protection from a vaccine decreases over time, so we want to make sure we keep everyone protected as much as possible.
- I got the flu shot last year and I got sick with the flu right after!
- You cannot develop flu from the flu vaccine. Flu vaccines consist of a dead virus or virus particles that cannot cause the flu. They work by getting your body to create antibodies to the virus and these antibodies are what protect you from future infections. The flu vaccine takes about 2 weeks after you are vaccinated for your body to develop antibodies. You can possibly have short-term side effects from the vaccine, including soreness/redness at the shot area, which is the most common, headache, fever, muscle aches, nausea or fatigue. These resolve very quickly, usually within 1-2 days. If you continue to feel symptoms, reach out to your primary care doctor to discuss your symptoms and concerns. Serious reactions to the vaccine are very rare and if they do occur, it is usually within minutes to a few hours after vaccination.
- What other things can I do to help prevent getting the flu?
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze. You can cough or sneeze into your elbow, rather than your hand, as your hand can come into contact with doorknobs or surfaces that can then infect someone else.
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched areas of your home, work or school. This is especially important if someone is sick.
- Stay healthy! Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, stay hydrated, and eat healthy and nutritious food.
Have health concerns? Please reach out to our Health Center and make an appointment with one of AACI’s healthcare providers. AACI provides services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and many other languages. Call (408) 975-2763 to schedule your appointment today!
To get vaccinated and learn more about AACI’s services to combat COVID-19 please visit www.aaci.org/covid-19-info
Dr. Lucy Martinez is originally from Wasco, California, a small agricultural town in the Central Valley. Dr. Martinez completed her Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology at Stanford University. After graduating from college, she continued her research in child language development, implementing a Latina parent intervention to promote English and Spanish language skills in children ages 0-3 in East San Jose. Dr. Martinez then attended medical school at the Charles R. Drew University (CDU)/UCLA Medical Education Program at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She returned to San Jose to complete her residency in Family Medicine at the Kaiser Permanente San Jose Family Medicine Residency program, where she has been able to shape the way the program teaches community medicine by leading the development of the residency’s curriculum. Her interests include health equity, reducing health care disparities, language concordance, adverse childhood experiences, and graduate medical education. She is very excited to work with AACI as the KP San Jose Family Medicine’s first Community Medicine Fellow!
Disclaimer: The information provided by the Ask AACI video series is for informational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of consultation with your physician.