Get an Annual Flu Shot

Flu (influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness. Flu symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening. Flu season typically spans the fall and winter months. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and others is to get a flu shot near the start of flu season each year.

Answers To Your Questions About The Flu

Flu symptoms often appear quickly. If you have the flu, you may experience one or more of the following:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)

*Not everyone with flu will have a fever.

NOTE: Flu symptoms are similar to the symptoms of COVID-19. Check with your doctor if you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or want help reviewing your symptoms.

These groups of people are at greater risk for flu complications:

  • Adults 65 or older
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children (especially under the age of 2)
  • People living with chronic conditions, including heart disease, asthma, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and certain neurologic conditions in children

Learn more about specific health and age factors that increase risk of serious complications from the flu.

No, the shot will not give you the flu. The flu shot stimulates an immune system response so that your body is prepared to resist the virus. Allergic reactions to the flu vaccine are possible, but extremely rare. 

Plan to get your flu shot in early fall, preferably before the end of October.

Talk to your primary care provider (PCP). They may offer the shot in their office or recommend other locations, such as local pharmacies. You may also find flu shot clinics in your neighborhood or sponsored by your employer.

Yes, pregnant women can receive the flu shot recommended for their age.

The flu shot is recommended for most people 6 months and older, but there are exceptions. Patients with life-threatening allergies to ingredients in the vaccine, such as gelatin and antibiotics, or patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome should consult their doctor before getting vaccinated. Patients with egg allergies should consult these Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

There are some basic habits to help prevent getting or spreading the flu.

  • Stay home if you’re sick. Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you sneeze or cough. Then throw the tissue away.
  • Wash your hands often. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you can’t get to a sink.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces.
  • Keep yourself healthy! That means regular exercise, plenty of sleep, a healthy diet, and lots of fluids.

Many of these same precautions help you protect against other respiratory illnesses, like the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Parents and caretakers of children, especially those under age 5, should know the potential dangers of the flu. The flu infects millions of children every year. It is highly contagious and more dangerous than the common cold. Children with serious health problems like asthma, and diabetes, and neurological and immune system disorders are especially vulnerable to infection.

Several different flu vaccines exist for each strain of the virus. The vaccine your child receives depends on their age and what strains of flu are predicted to be active this year. Your pediatrician will know what vaccine is right for your child.

Learn more about children and the flu from the CDC.

The CDC say there is no research to show a flu shot will make you more likely to get COVID-19. 


Protect Yourself and Others

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