Learn More About the Flu

Getting the flu can lead to more complications than aches and sniffles. Learn more about the virus and why it’s important to get the flu vaccine each year. 

What is the Flu?

Influenza, also called the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Why is Getting a Flu Vaccine Important?

Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Older people, young children and people with certain health conditions are at high risk of serious flu complications.

Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?

Different flu vaccines are approved for people of different ages. There are flu vaccines that are approved for use in people as young as 6 months of age. Flu vaccines are approved for use in pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions.

Who Should Not Get the Flu Vaccine?

Children younger than 6 months and people with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccines or any ingredient in the vaccine should not get the flu vaccine. 

How Often Should I Get the Flu Vaccine?

An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with the seasonal flu and spreading it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, the less the flu can spread through that community.

What Types of Flu Vaccine Are There?

The CDC recommends the use of injectable influenza vaccines (including inactivated influenza vaccines and recombinant influenza vaccines).

In addition to seasonal flu vaccines, depending on your age or health condition, additional vaccines may be recommended for you. Read more about pneumonia, shingles and Tdap.