A federal government Website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop full protection against the flu. Get vaccinated by October to protect yourself and your loved ones!
Shorter days and cooler evenings mean it's fall – and often the time that we start seeing people sick with flu. By getting a flu vaccine for yourself and your entire family every season, you can help prevent flu-related illness, missed school, and missed work.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease that infects the nose, throat, and lungs and can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Pneumonia and bronchitis are examples of serious flu-related complications. The flu also can cause certain health conditions, like diabetes, asthma, and heart and lung disease, to become worse. Even healthy people can become sick with the flu and experience serious complications. But even if you are one of the lucky ones who bounce back quickly from a bout with the flu, people around you might not be so lucky. Getting a flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your family from this serious disease.
Watch this fun video [0:30 minutes] to learn why everyone needs a flu vaccine!
Flu viruses are constantly changing, and different flu viruses circulate and cause illness each season. Flu vaccines are made each year to protect against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common. This is why everyone needs a flu vaccine every season.
While everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine this season with rare exception, it's especially important for some people to get vaccinated.
Those people include the following:
For a complete list of all people recommended for flu vaccination, as well as those who are not recommended for flu vaccination, visit Who Should Get Vaccinated.
You should get vaccinated every year for two reasons.
Some children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine for adequate protection from flu.
Many younger children getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of flu vaccine this season to be fully protected. Your child's doctor or other health care professional can tell you whether your child needs two doses of flu vaccine.
Flu vaccines are made to protect against three or four different flu viruses (called "trivalent" or "quadrivalent" vaccines)..
Trivalent flu vaccines protect against two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus. The following trivalent flu vaccines are available:
The quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. The following quadrivalent flu vaccines are available:
The flu vaccine is safe. People have been receiving flu vaccines for more than 50 years. Vaccine safety is closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hundreds of millions of flu vaccines have been given safely to people across the country for decades.
A common misconception is that the flu vaccine can give you the flu. It cannot. The most common side effects from a flu shot are soreness where the shot was given, maybe a low fever or achiness. The nasal spray flu vaccine might cause congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or cough. These side effects are NOT the flu. If you do experience them at all, these side effects are usually mild and short-lived.
Flu vaccine should be available widely, and in many convenient locations. See your doctor or other health care professional to get the flu vaccine, or seek out other locations where vaccine is being offered, such as pharmacies, health departments, grocery stores and many other places. Use the HealthMap Vacccine Finder to find flu vaccine in your area.
Last syndicated: October 12, 2014
This content is brought to you by: