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Flu (Influenza) Shots

What is "the flu"?

"Flu" is short for influenza, a contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat and lungs.


When is flu season?

The flu season occurs in the fall and winter, but the virus can stay active year-round.


Is the flu virus contagious?

Yes, it is very contagious. You can have the flu for 1 to 4 days before you start feeling sick.


What does it mean when you hear that "the virus has mutated"?

Flu viruses are constantly changing, and vaccines are updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and commonly circulating viruses. When this happens, the vaccine being given during that flu season may not provide enough protection against the new strain.  Flu vaccine effectiveness can vary from year to year as there are many different factors that can contribute to how well the vaccine is at reducing the risk of illness


When should I get my flu shot?

The vaccine provides protection starting one to two weeks after you receive it. We recommend getting a flu shot from late September to Thanksgiving.


Who should get vaccinated?

The CDC recommends a seasonal influenza vaccination every year for everyone 6 months old and older.  Ask us about our age restriction policy. While everyone should get a flu vaccination each flu season, it's especially important that certain groups get vaccinated. These groups are either at high risk of having flu-related complications, or they live with or care for people at risk of developing flu-related complications:

Pregnant women.

Children younger than 5 years of age - especially children younger than 2 years of age.
People 50 years of age and older.
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions. (Diabetes, heart disease, asthma)

People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

People who live with or care for those at high risk of complications (health care workers, out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age)

Who should NOT get vaccinated or should wait?

People who have a severe allergy to eggs or life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any of its ingredients

People less than 6 months old

People who have developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine

People who have a moderate to severe illness or are feeling sick

Be Vaccine Smart

What are the side effects of being vaccinated?

The most common side effects from the flu shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot is given. You may also have a low-grade fever or body aches.

If you feel any of these side effects, don't worry. You should feel better within 1 to 2 days. If not please report any side effects to your pharmacist or physician.


Types of Flu Shots

The “flu shot” is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months of age, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

Three-strain (Trivalent) shots: made to protect against three different flu viruses

Four-strain (Quadrivalent) vaccine: protects against 4 different strains of flu virus

High-dose vaccine: developed for people over 65 years old; contains four times more antigen (active ingredient) than a regular flu shot. This helps older people develop a better immune response, gives better protection against the flu and also helps prevent flu-related complications.


What are the benefits of getting a flu vaccination?

Protection for yourself.
Protection for newborns and infants who are too young to get vaccinated.
Protection for people at high risk of complications from flu.

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