If you have heart disease—or any other health conditions that affect your body’s ability to fight off infection—it’s best to get a flu shot early on, ideally by the end of October. This way, you’ll be protected at the start of the flu season.
The flu season usually begins in October and peaks sometime between December and mid-February.
But flu activity can occur into April and even May. So even when winter rolls around, or the flu season has kicked into high gear, it’s not too late to get a flu shot and protect yourself and those around you.
What If I Get the Flu?
If you think you have the flu, it’s important to:
- Take care of yourself
- Stay home from work to avoid spreading the virus
- Not make any decisions to adjust your regular medications without talking with your health care professional
- Contact your health care professional right away to discuss treatment options
Antiviral medications are available with a prescription. These medicines can make the illness milder, shorten the length of time you’re sick and may help guard against flu-related complications. But these medicines work best when they are started within 48 hours of noticing symptoms.
Your health professional is in the best position to decide whether an antiviral is right for you and any other members of your household.
Remember that people with the flu are most contagious, or able to spread the infection to others, in the first three-to-four days after their illness starts, according to the CDC.