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Facts about Influenza (Flu)

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to awful illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent severe flu symptoms is by getting a flu shot each year.

See what doctors are saying about 2022- 2023 Flu Season.

2022-2023 Flu Season

What are flu symptoms?

Flu can cause mild-to-severe poor health, and it can lead to death. Flu is not like a cold. Flu most often comes on quickly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish or getting chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • tired
  • some people may throw up and have loose stools, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s of great value to note that not all people with flu will have a fever.

How can flu spread?

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

Can flu be treated?

Yes. There are prescription drugs called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat flu illness. The CDC urges you get prompt treatment if you who have flu, or suspect you have flu and are at higher risk of serious flu problems, such as if you have asthma, diabetes (including gestational diabetes), or heart disease.

What are flu antiviral drugs?

Flu antiviral drugs are prescription drugs (pills, liquid, an inhaled powder, or solution that goes into the vein) that fight against flu viruses in your body.

Are antiviral drugs sold over the counter?

Antiviral drugs are not sold over the counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from your doctor.

Are antiviral drugs the same as antibiotics?

Antiviral drugs are not the same as antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.

Can pregnant people take antiviral drugs?

Yes. Oral antiviral drugs are recommended during pregnancy. Antiviral drugs during pregnancies have been studied and show that it is safe and helpful during pregnancy.

How can we prevent spreading flu?

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as you can to keep them from getting sick.
  • Cover your:
    • Coughs
    • Sneezes.
    • Mouth with a tissue. Don’t reuse tissue.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not nearby, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean any hard surface with disinfectants.
  • The CDC suggests that people stay home for at least 24-hours after their fever is gone except to get medical care. Fever should end on its own without the need to use fever-reducing meds.

Do I really need a flu shot each year?

Yes.

The CDC suggests a yearly flu shot for all people who are 6 months of age and older. The reason is that a person’s immune protection from a flu shot declines over time. An annual flu shot is needed to get the best protection against flu.

When is flu season in the United States?

In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. While a flu virus can spread year-round, most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February, but flu activity can last as late as May.

Is the flu virus the same each year?

No.

Flu viruses change each year. Each year the flu shot must be changed to match the new flu season variant.

Can a Flu shot give you flu?

No.

The flu shots cannot cause flu illness. Both ways the flu shot is given are safe. Flu shots given with a needle are made with dead viruses, or with only a single protein from a flu virus. The nasal spray shot contains live viruses that are weakened so that they will not cause illness.

Is it better to get sick with flu than to get a flu shot?

No.

Flu can be a serious disease. Young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health issues, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes should get a flu shot. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious health issues that can lead to hospital stay or death--even among healthy children and adults. Getting a flu shot is a safer choice. Do not risking getting infected to obtain immunity.

Will I get sick after getting a flu shot?

Some people report having mild side effects after flu shot. The most common side effects from a flu shot are:

  • soreness
  • redness
  • tenderness
  • swelling
  • low grade fever
  • headaches
  • muscle aches

If these reactions occur, they most often begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days.

Can you get a reaction to a flu shot?

Serious allergic reactions to flu shots are very rare. If they do occur, it is mostly within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. While these reactions can be life-threatening, treatments are available.

Can Kern Family Health Care (KFHC) help me find a flu shot center?

Yes, we will be more than happy to help you set up an appointment to get a flu shot. Give us a call 1-800-391-2000.

Can I schedule my flu shot at MyTurn.ca.gov?

Yes! Please go to MyTurn.ca.gov/flu. If you are not able to schedule an appointment online, give us a call 1-800-391-2000. We are happy to help you set up an appointment.

Can KFHC give me a ride to get a flu shot?

Yes, we can help you set up a ride to get the shot. Give us a call 1.800.391.2000.