By Samantha McDonald
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Flu season is right around the corner and the number one tip from doctors is to get a flu shot.
It is hard to predict exactly what the flu is going to be like each year, how severe it will be and how long it will stick around, but it generally starts in October or November and lasts several winter months.
A flu vaccine is designed to protect against three or four main flu strains. Those strains in vaccines change every year depending on research and predictions.
Dr. Jeffrey Thomas of Lovelace Health Center in Albuquerque says people should get shot as soon as it becomes available. That time will probably be in the next couple weeks.
Residents can get a flu shot at a doctor's office, a pharmacy, or a college health centers, among other places. The shot is for everyone 6-months-old and older.
Dr. Thomas says the longer you wait, the more likely it is you will get exposed to the virus, but that residents can get the shot at their convenience.
He also says the protection you will get may start a couple weeks after you get the shot.
“The flu can be fatal for many people. The flu shot is your best chance to avoid complications from the flu," said Dr. Thomas.
Dr. Thomas says some other ways to avoid getting the flu include washing your hands, not touching your eyes and nose, sleeping enough and eating right. He says it's a myth that you will get sick from cold weather.
If you think you have the flu, that means the usual cold symptoms plus a high fever and body aches, doctors recommend you go to them for medication and take it within 48 hours of your first symptoms.