Experts: Now is the best time for flu shots

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBS) Flu season is fast approaching. Activity remains low but is already increasing. That's why doctors want everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Allison Danks and her two daughters are getting their flu shots. "I get my kids vaccinated every year just because its preventative," Danks said.

When the flu arrives and how long the season lasts can vary, but activity usually starts increasing now. That's why it's recommended to get vaccinated before the end of October if possible.

"That's when the flu really starts to get bad, and even after the vaccine it takes a few weeks to build immunity," said Dr. Elissa Rubin with Happy and Healthy Pediatrics in Mineola , New York.

the CDC recommends everyone age six-months and older get the vaccine.

Dr. Rubin says don't believe the common misconception that the shot can give you the flu. "It is impossible. It is a dead part of a virus in the vaccine and it canot cause any illness," she said. "Most common side effects that we do see is feeling run down for a day because your body is building immunity... sometimes you get a red, swollen arm at the site of injection."

She also emphasizes the flu is serious. Getting the vaccine can prevent illness and can also reduce the chances of being hospitalized with complications of the flu. Last flu seaso as many as 43 million people got sick, 650,000 people were hospitalized and 61,000 died.

Danks says the benefits are worth a few tears. "The flu shot doesn't guarantee that they're not gonna get it, but at least if they do end up getting it, hopefully they'll have a milder case," she said.

She says as a parent, this is the best way to protect her children.

It's estimated that every year about 80 percent of children who die from the flu are not vaccinated.