October 12, 2016

The timing of flu season varies based on a number of factors, but can begin as early as October and continue as late as May.

Here’s what you need to know this year, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control:

  • While it’s ideal to get a flu vaccine by the end of October every year, getting vaccinated later is OK. In fact, vaccinations should continue throughout flu season into January, or even later.
  • Opt for the injectable vaccination over the nasal spray version.
  • Flu vaccines – which have been updated to better match circulating viruses – are offered in many locations, ranging from doctors’ offices to schools. To identify pharmacies providing the vaccine in Genesee County, click here.
  • The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed. Individuals who experience only hives after exposure to eggs can get any licensed flu vaccine. Those who have symptoms beyond hives can also receive the vaccine, but should receive it in a medical setting, where they are supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.

Last year, the flu vaccine was nearly 60 percent effective.

"This means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60 percent,” said Joseph Bresee, chief of CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention Branch, in a statement. "It’s good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts.”