Your birth month may influence your susceptibility to influenza, as revealed by recent research. A U.S.-based study discovered that children born in October are more likely to get vaccinated against the flu during the same month and are at a reduced risk of contracting influenza.

According to the guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every individual aged 6 months and older in the U.S. is advised to get an influenza shot annually. The current recommended timeframe for vaccination is September or October.

While influenza vaccination should continue throughout the season as long as the viruses are in circulation, it is generally not advised to get the flu shots in July and August for most groups. However, exceptions include children requiring only one dose, those aged 6 months through 8 years needing two doses (with the first dose given as soon as the vaccine is available), and pregnant individuals in their third trimester during these months.

The findings of the latest study published in the journal BMJ indicate that October is the ideal period for young children to receive the flu shot, aligning with the existing recommendation.

"In a quasi-experimental analysis of young children vaccinated against influenza, the birth month was associated with the timing of vaccination through its influence on the timing of preventive care visits. Children born in October were most likely to be vaccinated in October and least likely to have a diagnosis of influenza, consistent with recommendations promoting October vaccination," researchers wrote in the study.

They used data from health insurance claims of more than 800,000 children between 2 and 5 years who received an influenza vaccination from 2011 to 2018 (between August and January). Subsequently, they examined the rates of diagnosed influenza among these children based on their birth month.

"After accounting for a range of potentially influential factors such as age, sex, existing conditions, health care use, and family size, the results show that October was the most common month for children to be vaccinated. Children born in October also had the lowest rate of influenza diagnosis. For example, among children born in August, the average rate of influenza diagnosis across flu seasons studied was 3% compared with 2.7% for children born in October and 2.9% for those born in December," the news release stated.

"There are a lot of variables when it comes to the timing and severity of flu season or a person's risk of getting sick, and many of those are out of our control," said Anupam Jena, senior author of the study. "One thing we have some control over is the timing of the shot and it looks like October is indeed the best month for kids to get vaccinated against the flu."