Influenza (Flu)

It is important to get the flu shot every year, but it is especially important to get the shot this year. It is very likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading this fall and winter, possibly causing a “twindemic.” A flu shot this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources to care for COVID-19 patients. Protect yourself, your family and your community and get the flu shot.

The more people get the flu shot; the more people protected.

DO YOUR PART. GET THE FLU SHOT FOR FREE TODAY!

Flu symptoms may include muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue (tiredness). Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. *It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu usually comes on suddenly. 

Learn more about Flu Symptoms and Diagnosis.

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get the flu shot (vaccinated) each year, but good health habits can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like flu. 

  1. Avoid close contact, especially with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  2. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and COVID-19, are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.
  4. Wash your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  6. Practice other good health habits.
    Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Learn more about Health Habits to Help Prevent the Flu, including preventing flu at work and school.

Influenza, or commonly known as the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting the fly shot each year. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu shot (vaccine) for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is best. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. Influenza seasons are unpredictable and can begin as early as October.

Flu, Cold, or COVID-19?

The flu, common cold, and COVID-19 are all contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Because some of the symptoms of the flu, cold, and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. To learn the difference between the three illnesses, visit the links below:

Similarities and Differences between Flu and the Common Cold

Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19

Learn about those that are at higher risk for flu complications

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should people get vaccinated against flu?

Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children.

How do flu vaccines work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are used to make the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.

What kinds of flu vaccines are available?

CDC recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine during the 2020-2021 influenza season, including inactivated influenza vaccine [IIV], recombinant influenza vaccine [RIV], or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). No preference is expressed for any influenza vaccine over another. Both trivalent (three-ingredient) and quadrivalent (four-ingredient) influenza vaccines will be available. There are many flu vaccine options to choose from, but the most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional. More information on approved flu vaccines for the 2020-2021 flu season, and age indications for each vaccine are available in CDC’s Table: U.S. Influenza Vaccine Products for the 2020-2021 Season.

Are any of the available flu vaccines recommended over others?

For the 2020-2021 flu season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends annual influenza (flu) vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, influenza vaccine that is appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status, including inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV), or live attenuated nasal spray influenza vaccine (LAIV4) with no preference expressed for any one vaccine over another. There are many vaccine options to choose from, but the most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional.

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?

Different influenza (flu) vaccines are approved for use in different age groups. In addition, some vaccines are not recommended for certain groups of people. Factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a person’s age, health (current and past) and any allergies to flu vaccine or its components. For more information, visit Who Should and Who Should NOT get a Flu Vaccine.

When should I get vaccinated?

You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in your community, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated early (for example, in July or August) is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults. Vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.

 

Learn more Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine.

Local Partners

  • Flu shots at Walgreens
  • Walgreens Flu Index – Provides state and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and is compiled using retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens locations nationwide. 

San Bernardino County is a proud partner of the FightFluTogether Coalition

The FightFluTogether Coalition is made up of hospitals and health care systems, providers, public health professionals, health departments and community organizations which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health, and California Hospital Association. The goal of the coalition is to educate the community on the importance of the flu vaccine and encourage individuals to get the flu shot by providing resources on how and where to get the vaccine.