What will the next flu season look like?

When should you get your flu shot?

When people get vaccinated can also play a role in how flu season turns out. There was a surge in activity early last year and tapered off by winter. “Most cases occurred at the beginning of the year,” Ben-Adlet said. That’s a good reason not to delay your flu shot until late fall or winter, though better late than never, experts say. You also shouldn’t get vaccinated too early, as your immunity will wane before the peak of flu activity.

“Even in a normal flu year, it’s still cause for concern.”

​—Dr.Michael A. Ben-Adlet

Both Poland and Ben-Adreit said September or October would be an ideal time to get vaccinated. The CDC recommends the same time frame. “Keep in mind that it takes about two weeks after a flu shot to develop maximum levels of antibodies and be protected,” Poland said.

When you get your flu shot, check to see if you should get your COVID-19 booster shot because, like the flu, older adults are one of the groups most at risk of severe illness from the disease. Vaccine makers are updating COVID-19 vaccines to more closely match the currently circulating strains of the virus, and health officials expect them to be ready by early fall. The CDC has yet to make any official recommendations on who needs them or when they might be needed, but they may be coming soon.

Adults 60 and older can also get the RSV vaccine this fall, which is new to the list. Two versions were approved this summer and are expected to be available in pharmacies and clinics in early fall. Many people already have them.

“When you’re eligible, get vaccinated against these three diseases,” Poland said. “Be aware of how these viruses spread,” he added. Poland said flu activity was “exceptionally low” at the height of the pandemic, when people washed their hands frequently, wore masks around other people and stayed away from sick people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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