Dr. Robert Caldas joined us this morning to talk about the ideal time people here on the SouthCoast should get their flu shots.

Dr. Caldas is the Chief Medical Officer for SouthCoast Health, and he came into the morning show today to offer his advice about when people should get their flu shots. The doctor told us that this year's flu virus is rearing its ugly head a little earlier than normal, so the hospital group is encouraging virtually all SouthCoast residents to roll up their sleeves and get the flu shot early.

Dr. Caldas said as a general rule, October is good month to get your flu shot. Caldas says the shot takes at least a couple of weeks to kick in and offer peak protection against the virus. Also, once at peak, the shot will remain potent for six months. Therefore, people who receive the flu shot this week will enjoy peak protection in November, December, January, February, March and April. Caldas also stresses that once six months has passed, the shot still does offer some protection, just not the same level of potency as during its peak. In other words, the shot's protection does not drop down to zero once the six months passes.

Because they are already seeing cases of the flu come through the ER's doors, Dr. Caldas advises almost everyone should get the flu shot as soon as possible.