Who Should Get A Flu Shot This Year
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine each year, with very rare exceptions. The flu shot is especially beneficial for people who have a higher risk of developing complications from the flu. Examples include:
Adults 65 and older
Children 2 years old and younger
People who have weakened immune systems, like those with cancer or HIV
People who are pregnant
The CDC recommends getting the flu shot in to get the most benefit from the vaccine. The vaccine needs about 2 weeks to fully take effect, and it lasts about 6 months covering the length of a typical flu season. Even if you miss the September-to-October window, getting the vaccine anytime during the flu season can still help protect you.
And no, the flu shot wont give you the flu. It can help protect you from getting the flu, but its not 100% effective. So, theres still a possibility that you can get the flu after you get the vaccine. However, the flu shot can help keep your symptoms from becoming severe if you happen to get the flu.
What Are The Side Effects Of Vaccines
Most side effects from vaccines are minor, if they occur at all. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the reactions that could occur. They may include:
- Redness, mild swelling, or soreness where the shot was given.
- A slight fever.
- Drowsiness, crankiness, and poor appetite.
- A mild rash 7 to 14 days after chickenpox or measles-mumps-rubella shots.
- Temporary joint pain after a measles-mumps-rubella shot.
Serious reactions, such as trouble breathing or a high fever are rare. If you or your child has an unusual reaction, call your doctor.
What To Think About
The effectiveness of antiviral medicines can vary from year to year. Some years a medicine may not work against the types of influenza virus causing symptoms. Your doctor can help you decide whether antiviral medicines are likely to help you.
Most people do not need antiviral medicines. They recover from influenza without having .
But since most people who have the flu feel quite sick, some people may choose to take medicine even if they are at low risk for complications.
You cannot prevent the flu or make yourself feel better faster by taking:
- Antibiotics. For more information, see the topic .
- Large doses of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C or zinc.
- Herbal remedies, such as echinacea.
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Flu Surveillance Data Updates
Were there any updates in the methods for flu surveillance for 2020-2021?
For the 2020-2021 flu season, there were some changes to FluView surveillance methodology.
In addition to state-level data, the influenza-like-illness activity map displayed ILI activity by Core-based Statistical Areas , a U.S. geographic area defined by the Office of Management and Budget that consists of one or more counties anchored by an urban center of at least 10,000 people plus adjacent counties that are socioeconomically tied to the urban center by commuting.
Also, during most flu seasons, state and territorial health departments report the level of geographic spread of flu activity in their jurisdictions each week through the State and Territorial Epidemiologists Report. However, because COVID-19 and influenza have similar symptoms and it is difficult to differentiate the two without laboratory testing, reporting for this system was suspended for the 2020-21 influenza season.
More information on flu surveillance methodology and these updates is available online.
Why was pneumonia, influenza, and COVID-19 mortality data added to FluView Interactive?
Can A Flu Vaccine Give Me The Flu
No. The way that flu vaccines are made, they cannot cause the flu. Flu shots are made from either flu viruses that have been inactivated OR with proteins from a flu virus. .
Nasal spray flu vaccine is made with weakened live flu viruses, and also cannot cause the flu. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they can only cause flu infection at the cooler temperatures found in your nose. These viruses cannot infect your lungs or other warmer areas of your body.
While some people may get mild side effects from the flu shot like a sore arm, a headache, muscle aches or a low fever, those side effects usually begin soon after the shot and only last 1 -2 days. These are actually signs that the vaccine is working and your body is building immunity.
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When To Get Your 2021 Flu Shot
With all the talk about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, it’s easy to forget that there’s another respiratory virus poised to strike.
Yes, it’s that familiar winter nemesis, the flu. And there are vaccines to help ward it off but also misinformation and fears circulating. “We’ve been concerned about vaccine fatigue and that people will be confused about whether or when they need the flu shot, and not very eager to once again roll up their sleeve,” says Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases. “Flu is a nasty virus and worth protecting against.”
“Two reasons make getting vaccinated against the flu the wise choice,” he says. “First, it’s been proven year after year that you’re in better shape to fight off the flu if you get the vaccine. Second, by getting vaccinated against the flu, you help protect the people around you.”
Here’s a guide to getting yourself vaccinated against another potentially fatal virus.
Flu Shot Strategy: Get Yours Early In The Season
Get set for 2020’s mega-campaign against the flu amid the COVID-19 pandemic:immunization drives in the parking lots of churches and supermarkets, curbside inoculations outside doctors’ offices, socially distanced vaccine appointments held indoors, with breaks in between for disinfecting.
These are just some of the ways heath providers say they will give tens of millions of flu shots this fall arguably the most important U.S. effort to prevent influenza’s spread among Americans in a century.
Flu shots will be in stock at doctors’ offices, pharmacies and supermarkets by early September. And though what’s normally thought of as flu season in North Americadoesn’t really begin until October and peaks between December and February, because of changes wrought by COVID-19, now is the time to start thinking about when, how and where you’ll get immunized against the fluthis year.
“If you usually get the shot at the office but you’re working from home, for example, you’ll need a new plan, says Lori Uscher-Pines, a senior policy researcher with the Rand Corp. “And if you usually drop in to the pharmacy or the supermarket for your shot while you’re out and about anyway, you’ll need a new plan this year if, these days, you’re just not ‘out and about.’ “
But do make a plan.”No year is a good year to get the flu, but this year with COVID-19 also raging it’s especially bad,” says , an epidemiologist in the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Seasonal Flu And Covid
Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus and seasonal flu is caused by infection with one of many influenza viruses that spread annually among people.
Because some symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, people may need to be tested to tell what virus is causing their illness. People can be infected with both a flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 at the same time. In general, COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. Compared with people who have flu infections, people who have COVID-19 can take longer to show symptoms and be contagious for longer. This FAQ page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.
Yes. It is possible to have flu and other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this is. Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19.
Your health care professional may order a test to help confirm whether you have flu or COVID-19 or some other illness. Get more information on COVID-19 and flu testing and symptoms of COVID-19 and flu.
Get A Flu Shot In The Way That Works For You
Kaiser Permanente Northern California is offering convenient ways to get the flu shot including at retail pharmacies.
Its officially the start of flu season, and its more important than ever to get a flu vaccine. With infectious disease experts predicting that flu could come back with a punch this season, as well as the continued threat of COVID-19, a flu shot is your best defense against the flu and can eliminate confusion around which illness you may have.
Flu vaccines are available at no cost to all Kaiser Permanente members who are 6 months and older. Explore different ways to get your flu shot below. Find information on how to get a COVID-19 vaccine, which is safe to receive at the same time as your flu shot.
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Using Antiviral Medicines To Prevent The Flu
Two antiviral medicines can help prevent the flu caused by influenza A and B viruses. These medicines may also reduce the length of the illness if they are given as soon as possible after the first symptoms. During a flu outbreak, these medicines may be given at the same time as a flu vaccine and for 2 weeks after while your body produces to protect you from the virus. The influenza medicines are usually given to people who are very sick with the flu or to those who are likely to have complications from the flu. But they may also be used for a person who has been sick with the flu for less than 48 hours. These medicines are taken by mouth or inhaled into the lungs .
The antiviral medicines amantadine and rimantadine have been used to prevent flu caused by influenza A. But for the past few years the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised doctors not to use these medicines to treat or prevent the flu. These medicines have not worked against most types of the flu virus. Amantadine and rimantadine do not protect against influenza B. Be sure to talk with your doctor about the medicine that is best for you.
How Safe Are Vaccines
False claims in the news have made some parents concerned about a link between autism and the shot for measles, mumps, and rubella. But studies have found no link between vaccines and autism.
Some parents question whether mercury-containing thimerosal might cause autism. Studies have not found a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. Today, all routine childhood vaccines made for the U.S. contain either no thimerosal or only trace amounts.
Two major government agencies, along with vaccine makers and other groups, watch for, study, and keep track of adverse events that occur after vaccines are given.
The Ads Say Get Your Flu Shot Today But It May Be Wiser To Wait
The pharmacy chain pitches started in August: Come in and get your flu shot.
Convenience is touted. So are incentives: CVS offers a 20-percent-off shopping pass for everyone who gets a shot, while Walgreens donates toward international vaccination efforts.
The start of flu season is still weeks if not months away. Yet marketing of the vaccine has become an almost year-round effort, beginning when the shots become available in August and hyped as long as the supply lasts, often into April or May.
Not that long ago, most flu-shot campaigns started as the leaves began to turn in October. But the rise of retail medical clinics inside drug stores over the past decade and state laws allowing pharmacists to give vaccinations has stretched the flu-shot season.
The stores have figured out how to deliver medical services in an on-demand way which appeals to customers, particularly millennials, said Tom Charland, founder and CEO of Merchant Medicine, which tracks the walk-in clinic industry. Its a way to get people into the store to buy other things.
But some experts say the marketing may be overtaking medical wisdom since its unclear how long the immunity imparted by the vaccine lasts, particularly in older people.
If youre over 65, dont get the flu vaccine in September. Or August. Its a marketing scheme, said Laura Haynes, an immunologist at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging.
When is the best time to vaccinate? Its a question even doctors have.
What Should I Do If I Get Sick
Common flu symptoms may include fever or chills, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache and fatigue/tiredness. If you have flu symptoms and are in a high risk group, contact your healthcare provider. If you are not in a high risk group but have symptoms, get plenty of rest and drink fluids, manage symptoms with Over-the-counter medications when appropriate.
OTC medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used to treat fever, headache, body aches, and sore throat.
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Can I Get The Flu And Covid
Absolutely. The CDC had previously recommended spacing out the timing of the COVID-19 vaccine and other immunizations because the vaccines were so new, but “that guidance has changed,” says Grohskopf. The CDC now says it’s safe to get both vaccines at once, she says. “The body’s immune response and side effects are generally the same as when getting one vaccine alone.”
If you do get two shots on the same day, expect to get each vaccine in a different arm, which may reduce any pain and swelling that might occur.
How Much Do Flu Shots Cost At Drive
The cost of a flu shot will often depend on your health insurance coverage. Most plans fully cover flu shots, meaning you wont have to pay a copay or co-insurance to get your flu vaccine. If youre not sure what your insurance covers, call the member services number on the back of your insurance card.
If you dont have insurance, some clinics may offer free flu shots. There are various resources for finding low- or no-cost vaccines be sure to click or tap here to learn more. You can also pay for flu shots in cash. If you choose to go to a pharmacy for your flu shot, check goodrx.com to find the lowest price of flu shots at pharmacies in your area. Youll need to know the name of the vaccine youre getting to search for prices and discounts. Check with your pharmacist to get the name of the vaccine thats right for you.
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Easy Ways To Get Your No
Visit kp.org/mydoctor/flu and enter your location to see which options are available to you.
- Walk in to an indoor flu clinic operating at certain Kaiser Permanente medical centers without an appointment. You can also ask about getting the flu vaccine during your doctors visit.
- Visit a participating retail pharmacy with no appointment needed. Flu vaccines are available at the below retailers from . All you need is your photo ID and Kaiser Permanente member ID.
Keeping Good Immunization Records
It is important to keep accurate records of immunizations, including any reactions to the vaccines. When you enroll your child in day care or school, you may need to show proof of immunizations. Also, your child may need the record later in life for college, employment, or travel.
- Know when each immunization should be scheduled, and put reminder notes on your calendar. You also may want to ask your doctor to send you notices when immunizations are due.
- Have your doctor go over your child’s immunization record with you during each office visit.
- Keep the record in a safe place, and never throw it away. It is an important part of your child’s lifelong medical records.
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What Are The Symptoms
The flu causes a fever, body aches, a headache, a dry cough, and a sore or dry throat. You will probably feel tired and less hungry than usual. The symptoms usually are the worst for the first 3 or 4 days. But it can take 1 to 2 weeks to get completely better.
It usually takes 1 to 4 days to get symptoms of the flu after you have been around someone who has the virus.
Most people get better without problems. But sometimes the flu can lead to a bacterial infection, such as an , a , or . Less often, the flu may cause a more serious problem, such as .
Certain people are at higher risk of problems from the flu. They include young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with long-term illnesses or with that make it hard to fight infection.