Your Flu Shot Is More Effective If Taken Before October Ends, Experts Say

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As cold weather approaches, our thoughts inevitably turn to all our favorite fall activities: apple picking, carving pumpkins, and gathering for the holidays. But before you head out to have your fun, it's time to consider getting your flu shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Flu season starts in October, so the CDC recommends anyone over the age of six months get their flu shot by the end of the month so they're safeguarded against the virus before flu season peaks in November and December. This is especially important for younger children between the ages of six months and eight years old, as they may need two doses of the flu vaccine so that they're properly protected. Because these doses have to be spaced out at least four weeks apart, it's imperative to get them started as soon as the flu vaccine is available so they're fully vaccinated by the time October ends. 

If for some reason you can't get your flu shot anytime soon, it's OK. The CDC says getting a flu shot can still be beneficial even if flu season has officially started. And now that pharmacies can administer a flu shot, it should be easier than ever to just stop in with your kids and get jabbed. Check the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to learn where you can get a flu shot, as well as several other vaccines. 

Last year's flu season was especially deadly because the flu vaccine's effectiveness was quite low — only 36 percent, according to the CDC. This year's flu vaccines have been updated to "better match" the current flu strains, so we've got our fingers crossed that the 2018 flu season isn't a repeat of 2017's.

While you're at the grocery store, you may also want to grab some of these life-extending superfoods! 

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