Preventing Seasonal Influenza

Para información sobre la gripe en español, haga clic aquíEDoctor looking at elder patient

 

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and, at times, can lead to death.

 

How to protect yourself, your family and others from the flu.

  • The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccine each year!
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue (be sure to throw away any used tissues)
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Wash your hands often
Where to Get a Flu Vaccine?

Seasonal influenza vaccinations are generally available by the middle of September each year. After you are vaccinated, it takes about two weeks for your body to make antibodies to protect you from the flu, so the earlier you get vaccinated, the better. Availability of flu vaccine depends on FDA licensing and the ability of manufacturers to ship vaccine to providers.

What are Flu Symptoms?
Flu is different from a cold and usually comes on suddenly.  People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
  • fever* - It’s important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
What to do when you are sick.
Most people who get sick with the flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs and will recover in less than two weeks.
  • Limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.(Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?
Each year, millions of Americans safely receive seasonal flu vaccines. The benefits of immunization outweigh the risks. All vaccines, including the flu vaccine, are held to the highest standard of safety and are continually monitored.

The CDC encourages all people aged 6 months and older be vaccinated every year.

Flu season is fast approaching. With the ongoing COVID pandemic, when, how and where patients get immunized may look a little different this year. Boston Children’s Hospital, in partnership with CDC, has two tools to help patients find flu vaccine and influenza antiviral drugs.

  • VaccineFinder is a user-friendly, website where users can search for locations that offer seasonal flu vaccine and other adult immunizations.
  • MedFinder is an easy to use website that helps providers and patients save time and resources by helping them find nearby pharmacies with available influenza antiviral drugs.

National Influenza Vaccination Week


Information For Healthcare Professionals

For Employers and Employees

For Schools

Influenza Statistics

 
Influenza Vaccination Brochures