Getting sick during the winter months can make it difficult to enjoy your seasonal festivities. This is where the annual flu shot can help! With this year’s flu shot, you can strengthen your immune system to fight off the virus. But can you get your flu shot in Abilene, TX, if you’re already sick? Learn the best time to get your flu shot for the most effective protection and how Hendrick Urgent Care can help you stay well this holiday season.
How Do Flu Shots Work?
To best understand the risks of getting a flu shot while you’re sick, first look at how the flu shot works. Each year, scientists observe what strains are projected to circulate during the upcoming flu season. Inactive versions of these strains are used to formulate the annual vaccine. Since the active strains are different every year, make sure to get each year’s newly formulated vaccine to ensure that you are protected from the virus.
When you receive your flu shot in Abilene, TX, your immune system immediately targets these inactive flu particles. Lymphocytes, or specialized white blood cells, identify the foreign cells of the virus. Your lymphocytes begin forming antibodies that bind to the flu virus, alerting its presence to your immune system. Your white blood cells then attack the antibody-bound virus, absorb them, and break down the flu particles. During this process, memory cells catalog the foreign cells to target and destroy this flu virus even faster if it enters your system again.
Since it can take a few days for your immune system to form antibodies, you may experience traditional flu symptoms during this time. These can include muscle aches, headaches, stomach upset, and fever. However, these are typically much less severe and shorter-lived than the symptoms of active flu.
Know Your Risks
Now, what happens if you haven’t yet gotten this season’s flu shot and you begin experiencing the telltale symptoms of the virus? First, visit a healthcare professional to confirm that you do indeed have a case of the flu. If you test positive, your provider will help you understand what steps to take for recovery.
Can you still get a flu shot while sick? In the case of a mild cold, you may still be eligible to receive your vaccine. But if you receive a flu diagnosis, you should wait until after a full recovery to get your flu shot. Your symptoms are a sign that your body is already fighting off the virus. If you introduce the flu shot to your system during this process, your body may not effectively develop the antibodies you need to prevent another case of the flu. And, this may also slow down your recovery.
In addition to the flu, there are a few indicators that you should wait to schedule your flu vaccine. If you have a fever over 101 degrees, are experiencing severe symptoms, or are currently positive for COVID-19, wait until you have recovered to get your flu shot at our urgent care clinic in Abilene, TX.
When Is the Best Time to Get Your Flu Shot?
The best time to get your flu shot is before the season begins, typically between September and October. But, it’s still not too late to get your vaccine. This is especially important for high-risk groups, including those with pre-existing health conditions or immune deficiencies. Pregnant women, young children, nursing home residents, and adults over the age of 65 should also make sure that they are protected against the flu.
You can get your annual flu shot as late as the following May. But try to avoid waiting late into the season. The sooner you get your vaccine, the better your chances will be of preventing a case of the flu.
Keep the Season Bright With a Flu Shot in Abilene, TX
Don’t let the flu take away your holiday spirit! Whether you are ready to get your flu shot in Abilene, TX, or need treatment for the flu, our experts are ready to help. We offer two clinic locations in Abilene on Ambler Avenue and Buffalo Gap Road as well as a third clinic location in Brownwood. You don’t need an appointment to visit our clinic. Just check in at our lobby kiosks and wait for a member of our staff to call you back. You can also check-in online to make your visit even faster. Let us help protect you and your family from holiday illness, from flu to COVID-19 and beyond.