Flu Vaccination Clinics Offered in October
Influenza Vaccine What You Need to Know:
Influenza (“flu”) is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every winter, usually between October and May. Flu is caused by influenza viruses, and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Anyone can get flu, but the risk of getting flu is highest among children. Symptoms come on suddenly and may last several days. They can include: • fever/chills • sore throat • muscle aches • fatigue • cough • headache • runny or stuffy nose Flu can make some people much sicker than others. These people include young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions — such as heart, lung or kidney disease, nervous system disorders, or a weakened immune system. Flu vaccination is especially important for these people, and anyone in close contact with them. Flu can also lead to pneumonia, and make existing medical conditions worse. It can cause diarrhea and seizures in children. Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized. Flu vaccine is the best protection against flu and its complications. Flu vaccine also helps prevent spreading flu from person to person.
Flu vaccination is recommended every year. Some children 6 months through 8 years of age might need two doses during one year. Flu viruses are always changing. Each year’s flu vaccine is made to protect against 3 or 4 viruses that are likely to cause disease that year. Flu vaccine cannot prevent all cases of flu, but it is the best defense against the disease. It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after the vaccination, and protection lasts several months to a year. Some illnesses that are not caused by influenza virus are often mistaken for flu. Flu vaccine will not prevent these illnesses. It can only prevent influenza. Some inactivated flu vaccine contains a very small amount of a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal. Studies have shown that thimerosal in vaccines is not harmful, but flu vaccines that do not contain a preservative are available.
How can I learn more?
Ask your health care provider.
Call your local or state health department.
Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): - Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or - Visit CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/flu
Please make sure you sign up at the clinic you plan to attend!