If you think you have dodged the flu this year, think again. The flu season lasts through May and as more people get exposed to this year’s strain, the greater your chances of coming down with it, say Banner Health experts.

Flu activity is “widespread’’ throughout Arizona, Colorado and other parts of the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Adding to the problem is that it takes time for the flu to shot to work, says Devin Minior, MD, medical director of Banner Urgent Care, which has locations throughout metro Phoenix, Tucson and in Colorado.

“It is not too late for a flu shot. It does take a couple weeks for the flu shot to be effective,’’ he said.

Minior says that everyone should get the flu shot but that there are specific groups of patients who will benefit the most from getting protected: those patients who are over 65 years old and those who are young children.

Flu shots at available at all Banner Urgent Care locations. They are covered by most insurances.

If you think you have the flu, you should stay home and rest and avoid contact with others except to receive medical care, Minior suggests.

Unlike colds, the flu usually happens quickly, with flu patients experiencing achiness, fatigue very suddenly.  Other flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, chills. Not everyone with the flu will experience fever, however.

In addition to getting a flu shot, it is a good idea to practice good handwashing with soap and water and avoiding people who are sick.