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HealthSheets™

Getting a Flu Vaccination

The flu (influenza) is caused by a virus that is easily spread. And it can be more dangerous than you think. A flu vaccine is your best chance to avoid the flu.

NOTE:  Due to manufacturing delays with the 2009 H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccinations, Olmsted Medical Center Hospital was unable to provide these during your hospital stay.  The care providers at Olmsted Medical Center Hospital encourage you to get these vaccinations as soon as they are available to you.  Please listen to the radio, watch the news, or read your local paper to find out when and where the vaccine is available.

Flu Facts

  • The flu vaccine will not give you the flu.

  • The flu is caused by a virus. It can’t be treated with antibiotics.

  • The flu can be life-threatening, especially for people in high-risk groups. About 36,000 people die of complications from the flu each year.

  • Influenza is not the same as “stomach flu,” the 24-hour bug that causes vomiting and diarrhea. This is most likely due to a GI (gastrointestinal) infection—not the flu.

Flu Symptoms

Flu symptoms tend to come on quickly. Fever, headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and muscle aches are symptoms of the flu. Children may have upset stomach or vomiting, but adults usually don’t. Some symptoms, such as fatigue and cough, can last a few weeks.

How a Flu Vaccine Protects You

There are many strains (types) of flu viruses. Medical experts predict which 3 strains are most likely to make people sick each year. Flu vaccines are made from these strains. With the shot, inactivated (“killed”) flu viruses are injected into your body. With the nasal spray, live and weakened viruses are sprayed into your nose. The viruses in both vaccines cannot make you sick. But they do prompt the body to make antibodies to fight these flu strains. If you’re exposed to the same strains later in the flu season, the antibodies will fight off the virus. Your healthcare provider can tell you which type of flu vaccine is right for you.

Who Should Get the Flu Vaccination?

Almost anyone can (and should) get vaccinated, especially people in the following high-risk groups:

  • Persons 50 and older

  • Babies and children 6 months and older (ask your healthcare provider if your child should receive the vaccine)

  • Children on long-term aspirin therapy

  • People with chronic health problems (such as diabetes, chronic lung disease, asthma, or heart failure)

  • People receiving certain medical treatments

  • People who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities

  • Pregnant women

  • Caregivers and household contacts of babies younger than 6 months

  • Healthcare workers

Who Can’t Get a Flu Vaccination ?

  • Babies younger than 6 months

  • People severely allergic to eggs

  • People who have had bad reactions to flu vaccination (including Guillain-Barré syndrome)

  • A person who has a high fever (the vaccine can be given after the fever goes away).

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.