Whether you’re getting a flu vaccine for the 1st or 50th time, it’s always the most effective thing you can do to prevent the flu. Read below to stay smart about the flu vaccine. Then go spread the word (but not the flu!).

Flu Vaccine 101

  • The flu is serious, but it’s also preventable – and the flu vaccine is the best way to protect against the flu.
  • Studies show that when more people get vaccinated, the whole community benefits from reduced flu cases.
  • Everyone age 6 months and older is advised to get the flu vaccine each year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Even if you’ve been vaccinated in the past, it’s important to get a new flu vaccine every year to make sure you’re still protected. Why?
    • The flu vaccine’s protection can lessen over time.
    • The flu vaccine is updated to protect against the types of each influenza virus (called strains) expected each season.
  • The flu vaccine protects against several strains of the flu.
  • Some students under age 9 may need a second dose for full protection against the flu. Please contact your student’s regular healthcare provider to see if your student needs a second dose.
  • Anyone can get flu protection from their regular healthcare provider, pharmacy or at clinics held by Alameda County Public Health Department.

Flu Vaccines: Fact or Fiction

  • FICTION: The flu vaccine causes the flu.
    : It is not possible to get the flu from the virus in the flu vaccine. However, some people may get flu-like symptoms as a side effect. These possible side effects are shorter and less severe than the flu.
  • FICTION: The flu vaccine is not safe.
    FACT: The flu vaccine is safe. There has been extensive research supporting the safety of flu vaccines. Both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely monitor the safety of vaccines approved for use in the United States.
  • FICTION: The flu is not serious.
    FACT: The flu isn’t just a bad cold – it is serious. When preventing the flu is as easy as getting a quick shot in your arm, it’s a smart, safe decision that can protect you and your family from the flu.
  • FICTION: Getting the flu vaccine only benefits me.
    FACT: You can prevent the spread of the flu to others, including the very young and elderly, by protecting yourself from the flu. The very young and very old have weaker immune systems with which to fight the flu.

Did you know?

  • Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines in the past 50 years.
  • It can take up to 2 weeks for the body to build full protection against the flu after getting vaccinated.
  • The flu vaccine is not 100% effective. However, if vaccinated people get the flu, their symptoms can be milder than if they were not vaccinated.
  • The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitor the safety of flu vaccines closely and perform extensive tests for quality.

Tips and Tricks for Staying Healthy

  • Make soap and water, along with hand sanitizer, your new best flu-fighting friends. Use them often to clean your hands.
  • Just one cough or sneeze can spread the flu 6 feet! Make sure to cover your mouth or raise your arm and sneeze into your sleeve or elbow.
  • Don’t give flu germs the chance to jump from place to place. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth when possible.
  • Throw dirty tissues in the trash right away.
  • Avoid sharing personal items that go near your mouth like toothbrushes and drinks.
  • Remember: sharing drinks could mean sharing germs.
  • It’s harder for flu germs to infect a healthy body. Take care of yourself by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.

Got the Flu? Here’s what to do.

  • Don’t give flu germs a chance to spread. Stay home and away from others until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
  • It’s very easy to spread the flu at home. Keep a safe distance to help ensure everyone else stays healthy and flu free.
  • Choose a “sick” room. It gives germs less chance to spread in your home.
  • Get rest, plenty of fluids… and read lots of books. Sleep and fluids are important, but it doesn’t hurt to try and get a little enjoyment, too.

Check out more flu resources here. If you have questions, call the Alameda County Public Health Department at (510)-267-3230 or speak to your regular healthcare provider.