BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Flu season will be here before you know it and health leaders are urging everyone to get their flu shots now.

Health experts said September and October are the best times to get the flu shot. This allows the body enough time to develop antibodies.

Dr. Wes Stubblefield with the Alabama Department of Public Health said the flu shot can help protect you from severe illness, hospitalization and even death.

According to the CDC, Alabama is seeing low activity at this time but that could change as we get closer to flu season.

Stubblefield said each flu season is different but the best way you can protect yourself is to get the flu shot now.

“That gives you time to develop antibodies against the flu virus, which takes about two weeks, in case it is early,” Stubblefield said. “But it also allows you to have protection through what is historically flu season, which usually is over before march though it can extend further. But September and October are the optimal time frame.”

Dr. Stubblefield recommends the flu shot for everyone but said it is especially helpful for people who may be at higher risks like older adults, people with underlying health conditions, who are pregnant and those who are immunocompromised.

Flu shots are available at most pharmacies and healthcare facilities. Dr. Stubblefield said flu season typically peaks in December and January.