People don’t take the flu seriously–until they catch it. By then it is too late to do anything about it. You have to buckle in and ride the misery train. It always shows up at the worst time and just generally wrecks havoc on your body and schedule. To avoid this nightmare, make the proactive choice and get your flu shot!

The flu is most prevalent from October until May, often referred to as flu season. While your local drugstore has probably been advertising the availability of the flu shot for months, right now is actually the very best time to get the shot. It takes approximately two weeks for your body to incorporate the vaccine and build the necessary immunities that make it so valuable. Getting the shot too early may leave you susceptible to the flu later in the season since the protection level slowly fades over time (which is why you have to get one every year).

If you already got yours, don’t fret, just getting the shot is the most important thing. All doctors agree that getting a flu shot is way better than none at all. It is absolutely your best shot (no pun intended) for avoiding the flu.

There are two varieties of the vaccine this year, but both cover the major flu strains predicted for the 2016-2017 season: H1N1, H3N3, and a Type B class. One of the versions includes an additional strain of Type B, but that is the only difference. No need to stress about which you receive.

What’s new this year is the sole endorsement of the injectible form. If you had been given the nasal spray version in the past, you would have to brace yourself for the shot instead. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has made this recommendation because the nasal spray has been found ineffective throughout the past three flu seasons. In other words, it is a waste of time. There are still versions on the market, so if it is offered to you, take a pass.

A flu shot is an easy piece of protection and is likely covered by your insurance provider. Preventative care like this is often covered partially, if not 100%, under many insurance plans. Make sure you check with your carrier. Also, ask if they have any stipulations as to where the shot is administered. It may be convenient to stop by a drugstore to get the shot, but some insurance requires you to get it in a doctor’s office or a walk-in clinic.

Get your flu shot this year and consider it a public service. Not only does it protect you and is readily accessible, but it also protects millions of other people to whom the simple flu may lead to serious complications, even death. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, made this statement during a press conference last month, “If we could increase vaccination coverage in this country by just five percent more, that would prevent about 800,000 illnesses and nearly 10,000 hospitalizations…Flu vaccine is one of the best buys in public health.”

Be smart and put this on your October to-do list.