Flu Information

What is Influenza?

Influenza (also called flu) is a viral infection that attacks the nose, throat and lungs. Flu symptoms usually last three to seven days.

The flu is different from a cold and typically causes more severe symptoms and complications than cold viruses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 36,000 Americans die each year of complications from the flu and more than 200,000 are hospitalized. Influenza usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms:

  • Fever (often 101 to 103 degrees F)
  • Body aches
  • Chills and sweats
  • Dry cough
  • Headache
  • Tiredness and weakness (can be extreme)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion

A flu shot is recommended if you

  • are 6 months of age or older (2 doses may be required for 6 mo-8 yrs of age)
  • work or live in a long-term care facility
  • are a woman who will be pregnant during flu season
  • are a healthcare professional
  • have a chronic health problem such as asthma, heart disease, emphysema or diabetes
  • live in a household with or provide care to a child less than 6 months old or an adult 50 or older
  • live in a household with someone who has a medical condition that puts them at high risk for severe complications from the flu (such as someone with a chronic health problem, HIV or cancer)
  • are American Indian/Alaska Native
  • are morbidly obese (body-mass index > 40)
  • want to reduce the risk of becoming ill with flu or transmitting flu to others

You cannot receive a flu shot if you

  • are under 6 months old
  • have a fever of 101.5 or more

Talk to your provider prior to getting a flu shot if you:

 

  • have an allergy to eggs/egg products (new this year: patients with egg allergies may be eligible to receive the flu vaccine)
  • had a reaction to a prior flu vaccine
  • have a Thimerosal allergy
  • have been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome in the past
  • are allergic to Benadryl™ or Epinephrine (you should only receive the shot in a medical office with a licensed provider present who is capable of ordering emergency treatments)