- Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.
- There are two main types of flu viruses: Types A and B. These viruses spread in people and cause the seasonal flu epidemics each year.
- Certain people are at "high risk" of serious complications from seasonal influenza including:
- People 65 years and older
- Children younger than 5 years old
- Pregnant women
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
Flu Vaccine Facts
- Everyone 6 months or older should get a flu vaccine every year.
- The best way to lower the risk of flu and its complications is by getting vaccinated each year. Flu viruses change each year so you need a new vaccine every year.
- The flu vaccine is not approved for children younger than 6 months old. But, infants in this age group have a higher risk of flu complications than children of any other age. The best way to protect children younger than 6 months is to make sure members of their household and their caregivers are vaccinated.
- The best time to get vaccinated is as soon as the vaccine is available. You can still get a flu shot through the fall, winter or spring, since flu season usually peaks in February but continues through May.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Flu?
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly, not gradually:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills - It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults.
Seasonal Flu and COVID-19
- Similarities & Differences Between Flu and COVID-19
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Seasonal Flu and COVID-19
How Can I Prevent the Flu?
Take These 3 Actions:
Where to Get a Flu Vaccine
Flu vaccine is widely available at local pharmacies and healthcare provider offices and most health insurances cover the cost without a co-pay. It is also usually offered at a very low cost to for those without insurance.
If you get sick with flu, call your healthcare provider and ask about antiviral drugs. These drugs work best when started early, such as 1 to 2 days after your flu symptoms begin.
- When treatment is started within 1-2 days after flu symptoms begin, it can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick.
- For people at higher risk of serious flu complications, treatment can mean the difference between milder or more serious illness possibly resulting in a hospital stay.
- People at higher risk of flu complications include young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant people, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
Additional Information & Resources
- NYSDOH Flu Info
- CDC Flu Info (Other Languages)
- Image Gallery from American Academy of Pediatrics Portrays Accurate Scenes of Vaccination Across all Ages
For questions about flu, call your healthcare provider. Click here for a list of Primary Care Providers accepting new patients.C