When is the best time to get your flu shot? Baton Rouge doctor explains

Updated: Sep. 11, 2020 at 7:36 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - COVID-19 may be top of mind, but a much more familiar foe, the flu, will soon start making the rounds. With the coughing, sneezing, seasonal sickness set to stage its comeback soon, doctors say getting the flu shot is more important than ever.

“We definitely want to try to protect you as much as possible right now. So, by getting the flu shot, you actually prevent two infections happening at the same time. You don’t want to hit your lungs from both COVID and the flu,” said Dr. Rachael Kermis, a family medicine doctor working with Baton Rouge General.

Kermis recommends getting that vaccine around October. She says timing out your shot would ensure you’re protected during what is normally the peak of flu season.

“So it’s a six-month period you get of immunity from the shot. And, when we look at the flu season it generally goes from September all the way to February,” said Kermis.

Doctors say the precautions we take now for COVID - washing our hands, wearing masks, and staying apart - will also help prevent the spread of the flu virus.

Kermis says that will be a big help to medical facilities already strained by the coronavirus.

“It’s definitely a good public health measure because we don’t want to overrun our hospitals by having a lot of influx of flu cases and COVID cases. So, whatever we can do to help keep the population as healthy as possible with getting the flu vaccine I think is going to better overall for the safety of the city and everything,” she said.

Kermis also encourages families not to be dissuaded from getting the shot by what she says are misconceptions about some of its side effects.

“So, one of my friends…she used to tell her patients that you can’t get bit by a dead mosquito so you can’t get the flu from a flu shot,” said Kermis. “Basically, you feel like you get the flu because your body is mounting an immune response so you can get those antibodies to it. But, you’re not going to actually get sick with the true flu…talk to your family and friends about getting it.”

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