Sidestep the Flu: Get Vaccinated
Influenza, or flu, can knock you off your feet and leave you miserable for nearly a week. It can cause fever, aches and pains, coughing, and exhaustion.
The best way to avoid this fate is to get a flu vaccine each year as early as possible, before or even during flu season, which usually lasts from October to as late as May. The vaccine is available as either a shot or a nasal spray.
Flu is highly contagious. When infected people cough or sneeze, the flu virus can spread to others up to 6 feet away. As many as 1 in 5 Americans come down with the flu each year, and kids are 2 to 3 times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu. Most cases are mild, but flu can also be serious, leading to hospitalization and even death.
Flu vaccines can reduce illness, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school. Vaccines can also prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. When more people get vaccinated, it’s harder for the flu virus to spread.
Experts recommend that everyone 6 months and older get the annual flu vaccine, with rare exceptions. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about which vaccine options are best for you and your family. Learn more at www.flu.gov.
NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Building 31, Room 5B52
Bethesda, MD 20892-2094
Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Managing Editor: Tianna Hicklin, Ph.D.
Illustrator: Alan Defibaugh
Attention Editors: Reprint our articles and illustrations in your own publication. Our material is not copyrighted. Please acknowledge NIH News in Health as the source and send us a copy.