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Seasonal Influenza Vaccine: FAQs

What Is Influenza?

Influenza is an illness caused by a virus and is characterized by the abrupt onset of fever, muscle aches, sore throat, and dry cough. Many other respiratory illnesses follow this same pattern, however, and the influenza vaccine will not prevent these other, similar illnesses. Unlike other respiratory illnesses, influenza can cause severe malaise lasting several days. Illnesses consisting primarily of nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea are not influenza.

Who Should Receive the Seasonal Flu Shots?

It is strongly recommended that the following groups of people be immunized:

  • Persons 65 years of age or older
  • Residents of nursing homes
  • People with chronic respiratory conditions, including asthma
  • Children and teenagers receiving aspirin therapy
  • Doctors, nurses, medical students, nursing home employees

In addition, persons providing essential community services and students in institutional settings (e.g. dormitories) are encouraged to receive flu vaccine to minimize the disruption of routine activities during epidemics.

What Are the Side Effects of the Seasonal Flu Shots?

You may have fever, malaise, and muscle aches starting 6-12 hours after the injection and lasting 1-2 days. You may also have pain at the injection site lasting 1-2 days.

Can I Get the Seasonal Flu from the Vaccine?

No, the vaccine contains killed virus only and cannot cause influenza.

How Effective Is the Vaccine in Preventing the Seasonal Influenza?

Previous experience has shown that the flu vaccines are usually 70-90 percent effective.

Should I Receive the Vaccine Today If I'm Sick?

You should not take the vaccine if you have an acute infection. Wait a few days until you have recovered.

How Can I Arrange to Receive the Vaccine?

Go to FluShot, the online website for Health Service flu clinics at Dick's House. (Note: Our Flu Clinics were held in late September/early October 2014.)

Last Updated: 10/22/14