Flu - FAQ

COVID-19 and Influenza

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated for the flu ahead of the 2020-2021 flu season. By getting vaccinated, you’re doing your part to stay healthy and reduce the burden on our healthcare systems as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, saving medical resources for COVID-19 patients. Read the flu FAQ below to learn more about influenza, flu vaccinations and when and where to get vaccinated.


Flu Basics

Influenza is commonly called the "flu." Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus that infects the nose, throat and lungs. It can cause moderate to severe illness. It is not what people sometimes refer to as the “stomach flu” where there is primarily vomiting and diarrhea. That is a gastrointestinal virus, not respiratory.

  • Is COVID-19 a kind of flu virus?

  • When does flu occur?

  • What are the symptoms of flu?

  • How does flu spread?

  • Does past infection with flu make a person immune?

  • How do you prevent the flu?

  • How serious is the flu?


About Flu Vaccine

There are several flu vaccine options for the 2020-2021 flu season:

  • Trivalent vaccine (traditional flu vaccines made to protect against three different flu viruses) approved for people 65 and older.
  • Quadrivalent flu vaccines (vaccines that protect against four different flu viruses). These include the following:
    • Regular flu vaccine
    • High-dose flu vaccine for those people 65 and older
    • Egg-free flu vaccines
    • Nasal spray vaccine for those ages 2 years through 49 years old

Find additional information on flu vaccine on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

  • What viruses will the 2020-2021 flu vaccines protect against?

  • Can flu vaccine give you the flu?

  • Can I get the flu vaccine if I have an egg allergy?

  • Does flu vaccine protect against viruses other than the flu?

  • Does vaccine protect throughout the flu season?

  • How long does it take for the vaccine to protect people from the flu?

  • What is the cost of flu vaccination for children under 19 years of age?

  • How effective is the flu vaccine?


Where to Find the Flu Vaccine

  • How do I find a flu vaccine?

  • Where can uninsured and under-insured individuals get low- or no-cost flu vaccinations?

  • How can my business offer vaccinations for employees?


Flu Vaccine Recommendations

Everyone 6 months and older should get a yearly flu shot! Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications and are especially encouraged to get a flu vaccine.

  • Who should get flu vaccine?

  • How many doses of the flu vaccine does my child need?


Vaccine Safety

  • Is the flu vaccine safe?

  • Are there side effects to the flu vaccine?

  • What can I do if I have a side effect from a vaccine?

  • Is there mercury (or thimerosal) in flu vaccine?

  • What is thimerosal?


Prevention and Treatment of Flu

  • Can the flu be treated?

  • What should I do if I think I have the flu?

  • How long should I stay home if I'm sick?

  • What are the emergency warning signs of flu sickness?


Resources