Prevention of flu (influenza)

Learn how flu can be prevented.

How can flu be prevented?

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine, also known as a flu shot. Flu vaccine is safe and effective. You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. Most people do not have reactions to the flu vaccine. Severe reactions are very rare.

Getting a flu vaccine is a simple action that can save lives by:

  • protecting you if you are exposed to the virus
  • preventing you from getting very sick
  • helping protect other people because you are less likely to spread the virus to others

Everyone 6 months and older should get the vaccine. This is especially important for:

It is important that you get a new flu vaccine every year because the:

  • effectiveness of the vaccine can wear off, so you need a new one every year to stay protected
  • type of flu virus usually changes from year to year
    • experts create a new vaccine to protect you each flu season

Ask your health care provider about getting the vaccine. You can also find a location near you (such as a pharmacy or public health clinic) to get the vaccine.

This season's flu vaccine will protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes:

  • 2 influenza A viruses
  • 1 or 2 influenza B viruses, depending on the flu vaccine you receive

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, you can also protect yourself and those around you from the flu by:

  • washing your hands frequently
  • coughing and sneezing into the bend of your arm, not into your hand
  • avoiding touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands
  • cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that a lot of people touch, such as:
    • doorknobs
    • phones
    • television remotes
  • eating healthy foods and doing physical activities to keep your immune system strong
  • getting plenty of rest or sleep

If you do get sick, stay home and avoid contact with other people until your symptoms are gone. This will help prevent the spread of the virus.

If you plan to travel, consult a health care provider or travel health clinic at least 6 weeks before leaving.

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