Influenza, or the flu, is a viral infection that spreads via droplets made when someone coughs, talks, or sneezes. The flu vaccine helps protect against the flu—a serious and potentially deadly disease. 

 

The Top 10 Flu Vaccine Facts You Need to Know

1.
Who needs a flu vaccination?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu vaccination every year for everyone 6 months of age and older, with rare exception.

 

2.
Why do you need a flu vaccination every year?
Flu strains can change from year to year, and the flu vaccine is updated every year to help protect against the anticipated circulating strains.

 

3.
Is the flu vaccine safe?
Yes! The flu vaccine has been available in the United States for more than 50 years. The CDC and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) routinely monitor problems of all vaccines. Please check with your health care provider before getting vaccinated to see if vaccination is right for you.

 

4.
Can the flu vaccine cause the flu?
No! The vaccine contains inactivated or weakened virus or no virus at all, and therefore you cannot get the flu from the vaccine.

 

5.
Is the flu vaccine effective?
Yes, the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of getting the flu by up to 60%.

 

6.
How does the flu vaccine work?
The flu vaccine will not cause the flu but does help activate your immune system to fight off the flu virus. When you get a flu vaccination, your body’s immune system recognizes the flu virus and fights it. The next time your body comes across the flu virus, it will quickly launch an immune attack to kill off the virus. It takes approximately 2 weeks after the vaccine for your body to build up immunity to help protect against the flu, so get vaccinated as early as possible (preferably by October).

 

7.
How many doses of the vaccine does my child need?
The CDC recommends that children 6 months through 8 years who are receiving a flu vaccine for the first time get 2 doses, spaced at least 28 days apart. Children who previously received a flu vaccine only require 1 dose.

 

8.
What are common side effects of the flu vaccine?
Common side effects can include soreness, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site; fever; headache; and/or muscle aches.

 

9.
Is it worse to get the flu or a flu vaccine?
Getting a flu vaccine takes minutes, but the flu can make you sick for up to 2 weeks or longer and can be serious, causing you to go to the hospital. Some people even die from the flu.

 

10.
Along with annual flu vaccination, what else can I do to keep my family healthy during flu season?
Practice healthy habits:
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Cough into elbows instead of your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth to keep germs from spreading.
  • Stay home if you don’t feel well.

 

 

Schedule your flu vaccination with your health care provider today!

 

For more information about the flu,
talk with your health care provider.