Fight the Flu: Get a Vax!

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As cold weather sets in, clothing layers increase, scarves are pulled tighter, and noses become redder. This time of year can also bring the dreaded running nose, scratchy throat, cough, body aches, and headache of the seasonal flu. As you fretfully try to protect yourself from the winter season with warmer clothes and hot drinks, are you also taking steps to protect yourself from the bigger threat of the flu?

Flu season is coming, are you ready to fight the flu?

An annual flu vaccine is the first and most important step to preventing the flu. Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine. It takes 2 weeks for protection from a flu vaccine to develop in the body, so you should get vaccinated soon after the flu vaccine becomes available.

While you may be stocking up on hand sanitizer, avoiding crowded events, and distancing yourself from friends or acquaintances who let out a sniffle or two, if you haven’t gotten your seasonal flu vaccine, you haven’t taken the most important step to protect yourself from the flu.

Getting your flu vaccine is easy, having the flu is not.mother taking her child's temperature

Everywhere from your doctor’s office to your local pharmacy, and even the news and social media networks, are sharing important reminders about getting the flu vaccine. Getting a flu vaccine can take just a few minutes of your day. Getting the flu, however, can put you out of work or school for days, sometimes weeks. Taking a little time for your health now could save you from missing important events, work deadlines, or opportunities in the future.

Do your part for those you love.

When you get a flu vaccine, you are not only protecting yourself from the flu, but you are also protecting the people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness. As the holiday season approaches, you may be around young children, older family members, or others who have a high risk of contracting the flu or developing complications from the flu.

The flu is a serious illness that can have life-threatening complications for some people. The flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands of deaths each year. Some people, such as older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Get your flu shot to protect yourself and those around you. Do your part to protect the important people in your life.

Avoid germs during flu season.

While getting a yearly vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against flu, there are additional steps you can take to avoid germs and the flu. Here are a few tips:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. Keep your germs to yourself.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care. (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. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use giving a man a flu shot
  • 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 the flu.

Don’t know where to get your flu shot?

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies, and college health centers, by many employers, and even some schools. You don’t have to see your doctor to get a flu shot! There are plenty of locations available that provide vaccinations.

This Vaccine Locator is a useful tool for finding vaccine in your area.

Don’t wait until you are lying sick in bed to wish you had gotten a flu shot. There are steps you can take to prevent the flu and protect those around you. Get your flu vaccine today, and remind someone you care about to do the same. As long as flu viruses are circulating, it is not too late to get a flu vaccine!

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7 comments on “Fight the Flu: Get a Vax!”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    77% of flu infections have no symptoms, according to a cohort study by the Flu Watch Group published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. On average, based on levels of antibodies in the blood, influenza infected 18% of unvaccinated people each winter. Approximately three-quarters of infections were either symptom-free, or so mild they were not identified through the weekly surveillance of illness.
    Is that why some people who never had a flu shot say they never had the flu?

    The flu is no joke and should be taken seriously. Those of us that are fairly healthy may be able to weather having the flu, but think of those in your home that may not be so lucky. Every year there are fatalities connected to the flu and these might be preventable if only everyone who can get the shot gets it. I know I have family members that say the year they got the shot they experienced the most awlful flu of their lives. I make sure to remind them that it might have been worse if they had not gotten the flu shot.
    Education about flu shots and how they work is so important and I do see a trend of that education being provided as a public service. The more the public is made aware of the importance of the shot the more likly they are to comply with what the medical community is asking them to do.

    It is very hard to convince many people to get flu vaccines since many people want to avoid the needles as much as possible, they believe that the vaccine isn’t needed to fight the flu, or believe that they’re too busy to get their flu vaccinations. Even though this is about that we need to get the vaccine for the flu, how many people actually get their flu shots compared to those who don’t?

    How do I report what I think is a problem area? I know a neighborhood of just 15 house where over a period of the last 15 years 15 people (that I know of) have had cancer and over half have died from it. The 15 people are out of just 6 or 7 homes I am not in the know of the other homes . But I think that is a high percentage for 7 homes on the same block in 15 yrs . These people have lived in these homes most of the lives . Could someone please just call or email me so I could report what I think is a real health problem .

    The flu sounds like an innocent illness that will eventually pass. Many have a mindset of: “I’m healthy so I won’t get that sick”, or: “Complications of the flu is something that old people get”. As a nurse, this is far from the truth, especially in children. It is highly important that all children over the age of 6-months get a flu shot every year. Most often children under 2 years of age may require two vaccinations to protect them against many strains of the flu, or lessen the severity of strains not covered in the yearly flu shot. There are other methods used regarding flu vaccinations; inhalants, nasal spray or drops can be used in place of the injectable vaccine. Children who have chronic illness, low immune systems, or congenital heart and kidney defects are at higher risk of contracting complications from the flu. The most often reported complication is pneumonia. Many times this complication is so severe that the child requires hospitalization for weeks, and may also result in the death of said child. 43 % to 50% of children who die every year from complications of the flu, are otherwise healthy children who had no high-risk medical conditions. Out of that percentage number, 90% were not vaccinated. Don’t risk your child’s life, get them vaccinated every year.


    Thanks in for your question. Please note that the CDC does not give personal medical advice. Have a question for CDC? CDC-INFO ( offers live agents by phone and email to help you find the latest, reliable, and science-based health information on more than 750 health topics.

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Page last reviewed: December 7, 2015
Page last updated: December 7, 2015