A lot of people catch the flu after being around large groups of people who may be sick over the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s why Iowa Department of Public Health medical director Patty Quinlisk is reminding Iowans they can protect themselves.

“Now’s a really good time to go in and get that flu shot,” Quinlisk said, “especially if you’re going to be on trains, buses or airplanes and you don’t know who you might be sitting next to.”

Quinlisk says there’s plenty of flu vaccine to go around this year and getting the shot now should offer protection over the holiday.

“While it can take up to two weeks to get full protection, we know that you start getting protection the next day (after receiving the flu shot),” Quinlisk said. This year’s flu vaccine also contains protection against H1N1. Flu rates around the country, for now, are low.

“Traditionally here in Iowa we start seeing our first cases of flu in late November and early December,” Quinlisk said. “So, we’ll probably start seeing the flu spreading around our communities very soon.” Quinlisk says it’s especially important for people who are around babies to get the flu vaccine. Infants younger than six months are not allowed to receive the vaccine but are at high risk to get sick if they are in contact with people who have influenza.