CDC says not too late to get flu shot, despite brutal flu season

HOUSTON -- If you still haven't gotten vaccinated during this brutal flu season, you still have time to protect yourself.

Dr. Alicia Fry with the Centers for Disease Control said we could still have several more weeks of flu season.

"Even if you feel like flu has come to your community and now is decreasing, there could be a second wave and it could be a different type of virus," Fry said.

Each flu season is made up of varying strains of the virus. This year's dominant strain, H3N2, has proven a challenge to the vaccine.

Fry said getting a vaccination later could help fight future variations of the strain.

Dr. Shereen Alikhan, a pediatrician, said doing so can especially help kids who are susceptible to getting sick.

"Flu vaccine takes two weeks before it becomes effective in the body and your body actually builds immunity to it, so you still have that window of time because the typical peak of flu season hasn't even really hit us yet," Alikhan said.

"Sometimes kids have chronic health conditions to begin with and so they have a lot less reserve than otherwise say, an adult, who's otherwise a healthy adult male or female."

Aside from washing your hands consistently, covering your mouth when you cough and avoiding those who are sick, the FDA says the flu shot is still the best way to lower your risk of getting sick and spreading the virus to others.

"The kids who actually did receive the flu vaccine this year are a lot less sick than those who did not get the vaccine at all. Their fevers tend to be a little less and they're not coming in with as many complications," Alikhan said.

Most flu vaccines are covered by insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.