Get Your Flu Vaccine
Seasonal flu is contagious and can be very serious. About 5-20 percent of people in the U.S. get the flu each year. More than 200,000 are hospitalized each year due to flu-related complications such as pneumonia or dehydration.*You can help protect yourself and those around you by getting the seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it is available.
The flu season can start as early as October or as late as May. Because the flu vaccine is only good for one flu season, you need to get vaccinated each year.
It takes your body time to build up protective antibodies after getting the vaccine. That's why it's important to get the vaccine before flu season even starts. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you and your family.
Signs of the flu are fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy and runny nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. You might also have upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea.
A sick person can pass the virus to others starting one day before getting sick with symptoms and up to five to seven days after getting sick.
Remember to stay home for at least 24 hours until your fever is completely gone. The fever should go without having to take a fever-reducing medicine.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your elbow.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Or use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Try to stay about six feet away from sick people, including those at home.
- Clean surfaces like bedside tables, bathroom counters, kitchen counters and toys by wiping them down with a household disinfectant. Be sure to follow the product directions.
- Stay home from school or work.
- Get lots of rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid alcohol and tobacco.
- Do not give aspirin to children or teens.
- Use over-the-counter medicines to ease symptoms. Avoid using these medicines with children under 4 years old. Talk to your doctor about other choices for young children. If your child is younger than 5, or if he or she has a health condition, call your doctor and get immediate medical attention. These children may be at a higher risk for serious complications from the flu.
- If symptoms get worse, call your doctor.
- Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications.