Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses infecting the nose, throat, and lungs. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at higher risk of serious flu complications. There are two main types of influenza viruses: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for the seasonal flu each year. The best way to reduce the risk of flu and the possible serious problems is by getting the flu vaccine (shot) each year.
Protect your family from flu by
- Avoiding contact with sick people.
- Avoiding touching your face.
- Covering your coughs and sneezes.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water.
- Staying home when sick.
- Taking an antiviral drug if prescribed by your doctor.
Know the symptoms of flu
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
NOTE: Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
What should I know about the flu vaccine?
Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever to protect yourself, your family and your community from flu. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients.
A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine, particularly those at risk of serious complications.
- Get vaccinated each year as soon as the flu vaccine becomes available in your community.
- Flu vaccines protect against viruses that research suggests will be most common each year.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season's vaccines are available.
- Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated so people who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
- People at high risk of developing serious flu complications should be vaccinated (e.g. children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older).
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities should get an annual flu vaccine.
Where can I be vaccinated?
You may be able to obtain a flu vaccine at your healthcare provider’s office, your local pharmacy and/or urgent care center, or a local VNA/Home Health community clinic. They may hold specific flu clinics or schedule you to be vaccinated.
*We recommend that you call the site before visiting to make sure that the specific vaccine you are looking for is available.
For more information about influenza – symptoms, prevention, treatment, and flu activity – visit www.cdc.gov/flu/
Additional Flu Resources