You can help prevent
influenza by getting immunized with an influenza
vaccine each year, as soon as it's available.
healthy people ages 2 through 49 years can choose to get the
nasal spray form(What is a PDF document?) of the vaccine (such as FluMist) instead of the flu shot. The nasal
spray vaccine contains components of live viruses, so it should not be given to
people with certain long-term (chronic) health conditions, such as heart or
lung problems. Close contacts of these people in high-risk categories can be
given either type of vaccine, with one rare exception. Immunization with the
inactivated virus (flu shot) is preferred over the nasal spray vaccine for
close contacts of people with severely
impaired immune systems during times when a protected
environment is needed. This avoids the risk of transmitting an active flu virus
from the nasal spray vaccine. If the nasal spray vaccine is used, contact with
anyone in this high-risk group should be avoided for 7 days. For close contacts
of people in all other high-risk categories, vaccination with either the flu
shot or the nasal spray is considered safe.
Did You Know?
Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including checkups, vaccinations and screening tests, at no cost to you. Learn more.
Are younger than age 20 and you take aspirin or products with
aspirin in them.
Even if a flu vaccine does not prevent the
flu, it can reduce the severity of flu symptoms and decrease the risk
of complications. Studies have found that the flu shot
results in fewer days missed from work and fewer visits to a doctor for
respiratory infections, and it reduces the number of people who develop
complications from the flu, such as
pneumonia.3 And the flu vaccine can help protect the babies of women who got the vaccine while they were pregnant.4
spite of these results, many people choose not to get a flu vaccine. Some do not
get the vaccine because of
myths they believe about the flu or the vaccines. The
flu shot may cause
side effects in some people, but they are usually
minor and do not last long.
Before getting a flu vaccine, talk to your doctor if:
You ever had a serious allergic reaction to eggs or to a previous dose of influenza vaccine.