What is influenza?

  • Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe disease. It can sometimes lead to death.

  • Common symptoms are fever, cough, shaking chills, body aches, and extreme weakness.

Why should someone get the flu vaccine?

  • Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.

  • Getting the flu vaccine reduces the chance that you will be seriously ill if you do get sick with the flu.

  • The flu vaccine will not make you sick with the flu.

  • People with chronic health conditions, older adults, young children, and pregnant women are at higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications.

Who SHOULD get the flu vaccine?

  • Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every year, with rare exceptions.

  • Children 6 months through 8 years of age may need 2 doses during a single flu season.

Who should NOT get the flu vaccine?

  • Children younger than 6 months of age.

  • People with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine.

Who should talk with their healthcare provider before getting the flu vaccine?

  • If you have an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine. See Special Considerations Regarding Egg Allergy for more information about egg allergies and flu vaccine.

  • If you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralyzing illness, also called GBS).

  • If you are not feeling well, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

For up-to-date information about the influenza vaccine, go to the CDC’s website. You can also talk with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the flu vaccine and your personal health. See more information about the nasal spray flu vaccine. See more information about the inactivated flu vaccine.

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