Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

People come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid getting the flu vaccine.

"I've had the flu and it's no big deal."

"The vaccine will give me the flu."

"There are toxic levels of mercury in the vaccine."

If you listen to these misconceptions and don't get your flu vaccine, you could catch the latest circulating influenza strain and spend a week or more sidelined from work and feeling miserable. Even worse, you could get really sick and wind up in the hospital.

Here are a few reasons why you absolutely need toget a flu vaccine this year:

  • Influenza (the flu) circulates all over the world, and it can affect anyone, regardless of their age or health.
  • The flu can lead to complications like pneumonia, ear infections, and sinus infections. It can also worsen existing conditions, like asthma or diabetes.
  • Each year, thousands of people in the U.S. die from the flu and its complications.

Want to know the truth about the flu vaccine? Read through these common questions and answers to learn how it works, whether it's risky, and why you definitely need to get it.

Do I Really Need a Flu Vaccine?

If you're over 6 months old, the CDC says yes, you need to get a flu vaccination at the start of every flu season. Despite the fact that we tend to label any illness that makes us sneeze, shiver, or vomit as "the flu," true influenza isn't a trivial illness. It can do far worse than just keep you home from work or school for a few days.

"Hundreds of thousands of people each year are hospitalized with influenza. Between 3,000 and 40,000 people die during any influenza season, depending on the strain that's circulating," says Jeffrey Duchin, MD. He's chief of the Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization Section at Seattle & King County Public Health, and an associate professor in medicine in the University of Washington Division of Infectious Diseases.

Although young infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions like asthma or heart disease are most susceptible to flu complications (including pneumonia), people of all ages die from the disease each year.

"It's a serious health problem for adults and children. And it's preventable," says Duchin, who is also a member of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). "We have a way for people to avoid unnecessary doctor's visits, to avoid unnecessary antibiotics, and to avoid hospitalization."

Preventable Diseases: Do you Know the Stakes?

Take this quiz and find out how to protect yourself from preventable diseases.
Take Quiz

Adult Vaccines: Protect Against Tetanus & More

How vaccines protect you from tetanus, hepatitis, and more diseases.
View slideshow

WebMD Video Series

Click here to wach video: What's Your Adult Vaccine IQ?

Test your health smart IQ on these myths and facts about adult vaccines.

Vaccination Poll

Which preventable illness concerns you most?

View Results