It’s not too late to get your flu shot. (And it may be free.)

You still have time to get your flu shot, but you shouldn’t wait any longer. If you already have been vaccinated, congratulations! It’s the best way to protect you and your loved ones from getting sick.

Flu cases in Oregon generally pick up in November and December, and the vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective. Protect yourself and your family now by picking one of the options listed below. Visit your doctor’s office or another location offering flu shots – such as pharmacies and chain grocery stores.

Flu can be a very serious disease, especially for those who are older or have a serious illness, said George Waldmann, M.D., associate medical director for CareOregon. Flu can cause some people to develop pneumonia, which can be fatal.

“Many people mistakenly believe the vaccine can give them flu,” said Dr. Waldmann. “This is impossible, since the flu injection is a killed-virus vaccine. If you develop a reaction at the site of the injection, that’s a sign your body is developing immunities.”

Even if you have no flu symptoms, you can be carrying the flu virus and infect those who are high risk, including babies, the elderly and those with diabetes, a heart condition or breathing problems.

As the CDC says, “Your best shot is the flu shot.”

What’s new: As in most years, the current flu vaccine has been designed to match the three or four strains most in circulation. The nose spray vaccine is not recommended this year. Experts say it does not work as well as a flu shot.

If you are allergic to eggs, there is a new guideline for you. If you only get hives from contact with eggs, the CDC says the flu shot is recommended for you. But if you have more severe reactions to eggs, like respiratory distress or light-headedness, you should still not get a flu shot.

Who should get vaccinated: Officials recommend the flu vaccine for everyone age six months and older, especially those with a weakened immune system.

Children ages six months through eight years should receive two doses of the vaccine, so they build enough immunity.

When to get your flu shot: September or October is best. But if you haven’t had one yet, get vaccinated soon to be protected during the height of the flu season.

Cost: Flu shots always are FREE for CareOregon members. For your FREE flu shot, take your pick:

  • Schedule a visit with your doctor’s office.
  • Visit any health provider in our network that offers flu shots.

More CareOregon tips for flu season