Tips & Resources

This flu season arm yourself with accurate flu information and practice healthy hygiene habits, including getting an annual flu vaccination to help reduce risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.

Getting vaccinated doesn’t just protect you – it actually helps protect people around you, too. When more people are vaccinated, flu is less likely to spread. Visit our Where to Go page to find flu vaccine near you. 

Some people (Adults 65 years and older, children younger than 2 years old, pregnant women, people with certain health conditions) are more likely to get flu complications that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death. Flu also can make chronic health problems worse. Information for specific high risk groups can be found on the CDC website and Families Fighting Flu.


Download the NFID Flu Preparedness Guide to help be prepared for flu season.

 

Flu vaccines

Vaccine safety

Flu vaccine and egg allergy

Vaccine side effects

Pregnant? You're at increased risk

Flu and COVID-19

 

Type of flu vaccines

Experts do not give preference for one type of flu vaccine over another; what’s most important is that you receive the vaccine as soon as available and before the end of October. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional.

  • Intramuscular (Flu Shot): Ages 6 months and older.
  • Cell-based: Ages 4 and older.
  • Recombinant that is egg-free: Ages 18 and older. Find a location near you.
  • Live attenuated influenza vaccine: ages 2 -49

Individuals 65 years of age and older should consider getting a flu vaccine specifically designed for seniors. Talk to your trusted healthcare professional about which one may be right for you.

  • High Dose: Ages 65 and older.
  • Adjuvant: Ages 65 and older.

 

Are flu vaccines safe?

Flu vaccines have a good safety record. Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years. Extensive research supports the safety of seasonal flu vaccines. Each year, CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines. More information about the safety of flu vaccines is available at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/general.htm

 

What about people with egg allergies?

People with a history of egg allergy of any severity should receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate influenza vaccine. Those who have a history of severe allergic reaction to egg (i.e., any symptom other than hives) should be vaccinated in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting (including but not necessarily limited to hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices), under the supervision of a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions. The CDC has more information here. If you are looking for vaccine manufactured without eggs, ask your healthcare provider about Flublok or Flucelvax. 

 

What are the side effects of flu vaccines?

You cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Short-term side effects should not be confused with being infected with the flu virus - which causes severe and long-lasting symptoms. 

Common side effects that may occur include soreness, redness and/or swelling where the shot was given, low grade fever, and aches. If these occur, they are usually mild and go away on their own; the risk of a severe allergic reaction is less than one in one million. 

 

Flu vaccine and pregnancy

It’s safe to get a flu shot any time during pregnancy, as it protects both you and your baby once born. Flu vaccination helps reduce both of your chances of getting sick with flu, and protects you from serious health problems, like preterm labor and premature birth. The March of Dimes has more information about influenza and pregnancy. 

 

Flu and COVID-19

What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu 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. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care and public health resources.

Can I have flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

Yes. It is possible to have flu (as well as other respiratory illnesses) and COVID-19 at the same time. Experts are still studying how common this can be.

Does a flu vaccination increase your risk of getting COVID-19?

There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19. You may have heard about a study that reported an association between flu vaccination and risk of four commonly circulating seasonal coronaviruses, but not the one that causes COVID-19. This report was later found to be incorrect.

How can I safely get a flu vaccine if COVID-19 is spreading in my community?

When going to get a flu vaccine, practice everyday preventive actions and follow CDC recommendations for running essential errands. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health department if they are following CDC’s vaccination pandemic guidance. Any vaccination location following CDC’s guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine.