Protect Yourself from Seasonal Flu
Am I at high risk for complications from the flu?
Between 5% and 20% of people in the U.S. get the flu each year. The flu can be serious or even deadly for elderly people, and people with certain chronic illnesses.
Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and are worse than those of the common cold. They may include
- Body or muscle aches
- Sore throat
Is it a cold or the flu? Colds rarely cause a fever or headaches. Flu almost never causes an upset stomach. And “stomach flu” isn’t really flu at all, but gastroententis.
If you spend time with someone at high risk from the flu, you can protect both of you by getting a flu shot.
Because your immune system weakens as you age, adults age 65 years and older are more susceptible to the flu. It is important all seniors get the flu vaccination
You have two options for vaccination: the regular dose flu shot and the high-dose shot that results in a stronger immune response. Talk to your health care provider to decide which one is right for you.
Flu shots are offered in many locations. You can get a flu vaccine at a doctor’s office, clinic, or from your local health department, pharmacy, or employer.
The seasonal flu vaccine is covered under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get the flu vaccine at no cost to you. If you have Medicare Part B, your flu shot is free.
Are there any side effects from the seasonal flu vaccine?
Most people don’t have any side effects after getting the flu vaccine. Some people may have mild side effects. These side effects begin soon after the vaccine is given and usually last 1 to 2 days. These side effects aren’t the flu.
Fight the flu.
Getting the flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself from the flu. Here are some other things you can do to keep from getting and spreading the flu:
- Stay away from people who are sick with the flu.
- If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer).
- Try not to touch your nose, mouth, or eyes.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.