It's the prick of a needle that no one likes, but experts say that split second of pain is all worth it. Especially this season, where influenza cases have hit earlier this year than in years past.
The good news is that it's not too late to get you and your family vaccinated. It can still serve an important purpose since peak flu season is December through March.
However, once you get the vaccine it will take some time to protect you. The flu shot does not protect against every strain of the flu but it does cover the most common and severe strains.
If you have a condition such as asthma, COPD, or diabetes, and do become infected with the flu, it's better to see a doctor sooner rather than later to avoid complications.
"You need to keep in mind that it takes a couple of weeks for the flu shot to work," says Dr. Bart Hobson at the Marshfield Clinic. "So if you come in on Monday and get your flu shot and on Wednesday you get sick with influenza it's because there wasn't enough time for the immunity to build up."
Doctors say the flu vaccine is the number one step in preventing the flu, but there are other important steps you can take to keep yourself safe, such as using hand sanitizer as well as washing your hands frequently with soap and water.
Those that have the highest risk for flu complications include:
-people over age 65
-children younger than 2 years
-women more than 3 months pregnant during the flu season
-anyone living in a long-term care facility
-anyone with chronic heart, lung, or kidney conditions or diabetes