What Everyone Should Know About Seasonal Flu and the Seasonal Flu Vaccine
Table of Contents
Seasonal flu is not just a really bad cold. The flu is a contagious illness that affects the nose, throat, lungs and other parts of the body. It can spread quickly from one person to another. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something - such as a surface or object - with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Every year in the U.S., on average:
- 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu,
- More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu complications and;
- About 23,500 (and as high as about 48,000) people die from seasonal flu.
The best way to prevent seasonal flu is by getting a flu shot or flu spray vaccination every year.
You can't get flu from getting a flu vaccine!
The flu vaccine does not give you the flu. It stimulates your body to produce antibodies. These antibodies provide protection against infection by flu viruses.
The flu vaccine takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to provide protection against influenza virus infection. Until then, you are still at risk for getting the flu.
Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious complications from seasonal flu. Those who live or work with people who are at high risk should get vaccinated against seasonal influenza.
The flu vaccine is not approved for use in children younger than 6 months old but their risk of flu complications is higher than for any other child age group.
The best way to protect children younger than 6 months is to make sure members of their household and their caregivers are vaccinated.
Information on the Influenza Vaccine
- 2012-2013 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Updates, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Flu Vaccination Clinics in New York State
- Seasonal Flu Vaccine, Questions and Answers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Preventing Seasonal Flu With Vaccination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Misconceptions about Seasonal Influenza and Influenza Vaccines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Vaccine Virus Selection for the 2012-2013 Influenza Season, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Seasonal Flu Shot, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Intradermal Influenza (Flu) Vaccination (injected into the skin instead of muscle), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The Nasal-Spray Flu Vaccine (Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine, LAIV), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- You Need a Seasonal Flu Shot or the Seasonal Flu-Spray Vaccine Every Year
- Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Safety, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Vaccine Safety and the Importance of Vaccines
- Personal Stories from Those Affected by Influenza
- Importance of Receiving an Annual Flu Vaccine – The Marotta Family's story
- The Faces of Influenza: a portrait gallery of famous and not-so-famous Americans who urge you to get you flu vaccine every year, American Lung Association
- Los Rostros de la Gripe: Programa de prevención de la gripe de la American Lung Association
- Why Flu Vaccination Matters: Personal Stories from Families Affected by Influenza, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Information on Influenza
- Influenza Fact Sheet
- Questions & Answers: Cold Versus Flu - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Seasonal Influenza home page
- Questions & Answers Seasonal Influenza, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Good Health Habits for Preventing Seasonal Flu, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- CDC Flu Prevention Toolkit: Real People, Real Solutions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The Flu: Caring for Someone Sick at Home, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Información sobre la gripe en espanól (Information about the flu in Spanish), US Department of Health and Human Services
- New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Flu Information
- Seasonal Flu Information for Businesses and Employees, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- New York State Department of Health Bureau of Immunization