With onset of flu season, health officials urge vaccination

     (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks, file)

    (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks, file)

    With flu activity expected to increase in October and November, a New Jersey Health Department official said it’s not too soon to get a flu shot.

    Flu is unpredictable, said state epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan, and it’s hard to tell when it will start spreading and cause symptoms that include fever and lots of aches and pains.

    “Typically flu vaccine will afford you protection against getting flu illness as well as help lessen some of those symptoms that sometimes could, in some individuals, lead to hospitalization and possibly death,” she said.

    The elderly, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic health problems are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.

    The seasonal vaccine is updated every year in efforts to provide protection against the strains of the virus that are predicted to be predominant, Tan said.

    “There are changes in the flu strains that are circulating in any given season. So that’s one of the reasons why we ask people to get vaccinated every single year,” she said. “Also, we know that the protection does wear off after time.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Help us get to 100% of our membership goal to support the reporters covering our region, the producers bringing you great local programs and the educators who teach all our children.