Each year, seasonal flu infections cause a variety of symptoms that start suddenly. The flu typically makes you feel rotten for 3 to 5 days. However, it can be dangerous for young children, older adults, and others with certain health conditions. To protect yourself and your community, it's important to get your flu shot every year.
This year, however, we are also faced with another infectious disease that has very similar symptoms, COVID-19. Many of the same resources used in hospitals to care for influenza patients are being used for COVID, so it is more important than ever for individuals to receive their annual flu vaccine.
Who can be vaccinated?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises everyone ages 6 months and older to receive an annual flu vaccination. This year, there is even greater emphasis. While we don’t have a vaccine available at this point for COVID, we do have one that protects against influenza.
What is the best vaccine for me?
There are a variety of options this year when it comes to your flu vaccine:
- Quadrivalent regular dose injectable (or “shot”)
- Intranasal or nasal spray (“FluMist” is a brand name)
- High Dose quadrivalent for people age 65+ years
The best way to find the vaccine that is right for you is to consult with your doctor or pharmacist
What Else Can I do to Stop the Spread of Disease?
The same prevention methods work for flu or COVID
- Get a seasonal flu vaccine. Everyone in the family (over the age of 6 months) should get a vaccine, and so should anyone who cares for your baby.
- Wear a mask, being sure it covers your nose and mouth snuggly.
- Wash your hands often and well, and have children do the same.
- If you’re sick, stay home from school or work.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.
- Cover your sneezes and coughs.
- Use a tissue once, then throw it away and wash your hands.
Signs and Symptoms
Seasonal flu symptoms usually come on fast, causing chills, fever, muscle aches, tiredness, dry cough, and sore throat. Occasionally, seasonal flu will cause a runny or stuffy nose or, in young children, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
How is Influenza Spread?
The flu virus prefers air travel, catching rides on the tiny droplets that fly out when someone sneezes or coughs. However, it can also stick around on surfaces for a while. If you touch something that was recently contaminated and then touch your mouth or nose, you can get infected, too. It is important to note you can spread the virus before you show signs of illness.
For locations to receive the flu vaccine, go to intermountainhealthcare.org/flu