Expected cooler temperatures have prompted the local health district in the Magic Valley to encourage people to get the flu vaccination as soon as possible.

South Central Public Health District says people should get flu shots before they are exposed to the virus as they begin to spend more time indoors and around people. Health officials say it takes time for the vaccine to take effect and protect a person from being sick, “Protection from the flu doesn’t start as soon as you get the vaccine. It can take two weeks for the antibodies to develop,” says Cheryle Becker, Public Health Division Administrator. “If you wait until a family member or neighbor has the flu it’s likely you’ll still catch the disease.”

Those that are at a high risk for serious complications of the flu include children under two years of age, woman who are pregnant, elderly people, and those with chronic health conditions.

Those older that 65 are also encouraged to get the higher dosage of the vaccine if available. However, according to Becker, the higher dose is late this year and people should check with their health care provider if it is carried. The flu is spreadable before symptoms are evident, so the health district says people should always practice good hygiene:

  • Get a flu vaccination.
  • Wash hands often and particularly after sneezing and coughing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes or cough into your sleeve.
  • Stay home when sick.