Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
- Children, the elderly, healthcare workers, and others who are prone to getting the flu should get their flu vaccine every year.
- For extra safety, people you live with or spend a lot of time with should also get a flu vaccine. You are less likely to get the flu if the people around you don't have it.
- The flu vaccine helps your body fight the flu during the height of the flu season, which is generally December through March.
The flu vaccine is available through your local health unit.
Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine
- Seasonal flu is a disease that causes mild to severe illness and is easily spread. Each year in the United States, 25-50 million infections are reported, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 23,600 die due to seasonal flu.
- The seasonal flu virus is spread through coughing or sneezing and by touching a hard surface with the virus on it and then touching your nose or mouth.
- The flu vaccine will not give you the flu! The shot is a vaccine that helps protect you against the seasonal flu virus.
- The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine each year. The vaccine takes one to two weeks to start working and is 70 to 90 percent effective in preventing seasonal flu.
The Importance of Seasonal Flu Vaccine
- Children can catch the flu more often than adults but they usually aren’t as sick. Parents should keep their sick children at home so they do not spread the flu to others.
- For older adults and others who are at risk of complications, the flu vaccine can reduce hospitalizations by as much as 70 percent and deaths by 85 percent.
- The best way to protect yourself, and your family.