When is the best time to get a flu jab to be protected for December? When you should book

Flu jab: Eligible groups in UK set to be 'expanded' reveals expert

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Flu is around the whole year, but it’s especially common during the winter months. This is the reason why it’s often referred to as seasonal flu. Boots’ Chief Pharmacist names the best day to get your flu jab if you want to protect yourself just in time before the festive season kicks off.

The flu season typically starts in December, which also marks the beginning of festivities, Boots reports.

According to the pharmacy, flu cases are usually highest in the period between December to March.

To protect yourself from the virus in time for December festivities, Boots advises getting your flu jab by 17 November.

With Christmas around the corner, people might be socialising at parties and family get-togethers more than the previous year.

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“It is important that people are protected to help minimise the spread,” Boots explained.

Currently, the pharmacy is still offering more than one million appointments, while encouraging people to book as soon as they can.

How does the flu jab work?

The chief pharmacist Marc Donovan said: “The flu vaccine stimulates the immune system to respond to it by producing antibodies against the flu virus.

“The antibodies stay in your body so that if you’re exposed to the flu virus naturally, your immune system can recognise it, attack it and prevent it from causing flu.”

When to get the jab so it’s effective by December?

“It typically takes between 10 and 14 days after having the flu jab for the body to develop enough antibodies,” said the pharmacist.

“Therefore, people who have their jab by 17 November will be protected by 1 December,” he added.

Like any vaccination, the flu jab isn’t a guarantee that you won’t get the virus.

However, if you do manage to contract it while vaccinated, it’s “likely” to be milder and not last as long, Boots explains.

As flu season might last till March, Boots urges people to get their jab even if they miss the recommended date for December protection.

Boots is offering both free flu jabs on behalf of the NHS for those eligible as well as private appointments.

With Covid cases on the rise, flu isn’t the only risk posed during this winter.

Donovan added: “It’s also important to get your COVID-19 booster if you are eligible. Having both offers those at greatest risk optimum protection from getting seriously unwell from these viruses in the coming months.”

In case you need reminding, here are the flu symptoms:

  • Sudden high temperature of 38C or above
  • Aching body
  • Feeling tired or exhausted but also difficulty sleeping
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or tummy pain.

As some of the flu symptoms overlap with Covid, it might be difficult to tell the difference.

The NHS advises getting a PCR test and self-isolating until you receive a negative result, in case you experience a fever, new, continuous cough, a loss or any change to your smell and taste.

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