Flu is a respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses. Most people with the flu get better on their own. But it can be serious. It can cause complications and sometimes even death. Getting the flu vaccine every year is the best way to lower your chance of getting the flu and spreading it to others.
The flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in your body about two weeks after you get it. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
There are different types of flu shots, including some especially for people 65 and older. Ask your health care provider which one is right for you.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. People with egg allergies should check with their doctors before getting a vaccine. Other exceptions are people who have
- Had reactions to flu shots before
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- A fever
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Flu Vaccine during Pregnancy (American Academy of Family Physicians)
- I'm Pregnant. Should I Get a Flu Shot? (Nemours Foundation)
- Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- The Flu Vaccine and Pregnancy (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)
- Vaccination: Who Should Do It, Who Should Not and Who Should Take Precautions (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Vaccine Effectiveness - How Well Does the Seasonal Flu Vaccine Work? (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Flu Vaccine (National Institutes of Health)