Influenza vaccine can prevent influenza (Flu).
Flu is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May. Anyone can get the flu, but it is more dangerous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at greatest risk of flu complications.
Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. If you have a medical condition, such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes, flu can make it worse.
Flu can cause fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and runny or stuffy nose. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized. Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related visits to the doctor each year.
CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated every flu season. Children 6 months through 8 years of age may need 2 doses during a single flu season. Everyone else needs only 1 dose each flu season.
It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after vaccination. There are many flu viruses, and they are always changing. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against three or four viruses that are likely to cause disease in the upcoming flu season. Even when the vaccine doesn’t exactly match these viruses, it may still provide some protection.
Influenza vaccine does not cause flu.
Influenza vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:
- Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of influenza vaccine, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies.
- Has ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (also called GBS).
In some cases, your health care provider may decide to postpone influenza vaccination to a future visit.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting influenza vaccine.
Your health care provider can give you more information.