Influenza (Flu)

The Health Department is now administering flu vaccine in our regularly scheduled immunization clinics.  The vaccine is $40 and we accept most insurances.

What Is Flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each fall.

Influenza (commonly called “the flu”) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Infection with influenza viruses can result in illness ranging from mild to severe with life-threatening complications. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu each year: An average of 114,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications and 36,000 Americans die each year from complications of flu.

Symptoms & Complications of Flu

Symptoms of flu include:

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches

Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are much more common among children than adults.

Some of the complications caused by flu include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes. Children may have sinus problems and ear infections.

How Flu Spreads

The flu spreads in respiratory droplets when people cough and sneeze. It usually spreads from person to person, though occasionally a person may become infected by touching something with virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.

Adults may be able to infect others one day before symptoms appear and up to seven days after getting sick. That means that you can give someone the flu before you know you’re sick as well as while you are sick.

Preventing the Flu

Simple steps can go a long way in prevention. Practice good hygiene daily by washing your hands often and covering your coughs and sneezes, and consider getting a flu vaccination. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each fall.

Who Should Get a Vaccine?

Everyone six months of age and older.

People at High Risk for Complications from Flu

The following people are at high risk for complications from the flu and should be vaccinated:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that house those with long-term illnesses
  • Adults and children six months and older who have chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma
  • Adults and children six months and older who needed regular medical care or were in a hospital during the previous year because of a metabolic disease (like diabetes), chronic kidney disease, or weakened immune system (including immune system problems caused by medicines or by infection with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV/AIDS])
  • Children between 6 months and 18 years of age who are on long-term aspirin therapy. (If given aspirin while they have the flu, they are at risk of a severe illness called Reye’s syndrome.)
  • Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
  • All children six to 23 months of age

To help prevent spreading the flu to those at high risk for complications from the illness, the following people should get vaccinated:

  • Anyone (including children six months of age and older) who lives with someone in a high-risk group
  • Doctors, nurses, and other employees in hospitals and doctors’ offices, including emergency response services
  • People who work in nursing homes and long-term care facilities who have contact with patients or residents
  • People who work in assisted living and other residences for people in high-risk groups
  • Anyone who provides care to those in high-risk groups

Who Should Not Get a Flu Vaccine?

The following groups should not get a flu vaccine before talking with their doctor:

  • People who have a severe allergy to eggs
  • People who have had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine in the past
  • People who previously developed Guillain-Barré syndrome(GBS) in the six weeks after getting a flu shot
  • Children less than six months of age

Find out more