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Common Questions and Answers About the Flu Shot

Flu Cold Tissue

Flu season is upon us and getting an annual flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. While most people experience a mild illness and recover from the flu within two weeks, some are likely to experience serious complications. Those at higher risk include children younger than five years old, adults 65 years and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and people with chronic illnesses. If you’re on the fence about protecting yourself with a flu shot, here are some things to consider.

Who should get a flu shot?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older except for those who have experienced serious reactions to previous influenza immunizations.

Why should I be worried about getting the flu?

The CDC estimates the following have occurred in the U.S. annually since 2010.

  • 2 to 35.6 million cases of influenza
  • 140,000 to 710,000 flu-related hospitalizations
  • 12,000 to 56,000 flu-related deaths annually since 2010

When should I get a flu shot?

You should get a flu shot in early fall before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks for your immune system to develop antibodies. Get vaccinated before the end of October if possible. Getting vaccinated later in the flue season is still beneficial, even into January or later. Since children aged six months through eight years who haven’t been previously immunized require two doses of influenza vaccine four weeks apart, it’s important to start early in the season.

Can I still get the flu even if I get the shot?

Yes, it is possible for those who’ve received the immunization to get the flu. However, getting the flu shot may result in a much milder case. There are some factors that impact your chances of getting the flu after receiving the vaccine.

  • You were exposed to the flu virus prior to getting the shot, or during the time it takes for your body to develop antibodies (approximately two weeks)
  • You are exposed to a flu virus not included in the current season’s vaccine
  • Your body doesn’t develop antibodies well due to age or certain health conditions

Can I get the flu from the flu shot?

No, a flu shot cannot give you the flu. While some people may experience low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches after receiving the vaccine, the shot has not given them the flu. Flu vaccines are made either with flu viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and are not infections or without flu viruses at all (recombinant influenza vaccine).

It’s also important to remember influenza and symptoms commonly referred to as the “stomach flu” are not caused by the same viruses. While some people may experience vomiting, diarrhea or nausea with influenza (more common in children than adults), the main symptoms of the flu include the following.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Fatigue

Where can I get the flu shot?

Annual flu shots are offered at a variety of places within the community, including your doctor’s office, pharmacies, the local health department, some college health centers and employers.

Please contact Network Health at 920-720-1300 or 800-826-0940 to find out where you can receive the flu vaccination at no cost to you.


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