To protect yourself from the flu and stop its spread, you need a flu vaccine. Learn what it is and when to get it to help keep your family well.
The flu shot is a form of the vaccine that you get in your arm. Some years, you can get it as a nasal spray instead. Flu vaccines are made to target three or four types of flu viruses that are most likely to make you sick during the upcoming year.
Who Should Get It?
Almost everyone 6 months old and older should get a flu vaccine every year.
Some people are more at risk of getting very sick from complications of the flu than others. These groups should be sure to get a flu shot each year:
- Children, especially from 6 months to 5 years old
- Pregnant women
- Adults age 65 and older
- People with health conditions
- Those who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
- Certain groups of people, including Native Americans and Alaska Natives
- Travelers and people living abroad
The following people shouldn’t get a flu vaccine:
- Children under 6 months old
- People who are very allergic to the flu shot or any of its ingredients
Talk to your doctor before you get the vaccine if you have any of these symptoms:
- An allergy to eggs or any of the other ingredients in the vaccine
- A history of Guillain-Barre syndrome
- If you’re not feeling well
When Should I Get It?
As soon as it becomes available, by October, if possible. It’s best to get the vaccine before the flu season starts. But you can still get it in January or later.