Fight the Flu! | NYC Health + Hospitals

Five Facts on Fighting the Flu

The best way to knock-out the flu is by getting the flu vaccine at any NYC Health + Hospitals facility or Gotham Health center.

Like an evil villain attacking a superhero, the flu can make even the healthiest New Yorkers seriously ill. So, everyone aged 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every year. The vaccine is updated every year to protect you against new viruses.

Anyone can get the flu. But some people are more likely to developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. These high-risk groups include: pregnant women; children younger than 5 years; adults 65 years and older; and people living in nursing homes or other care facilities.

Protection from the flu vaccination takes about 2 weeks after you get your shot, so make plans to get vaccinated early, before flu season begins.

Here are 5 Quick Facts on the Flu:

WHAT IS SEASONAL INFLUENZA (FLU)?

Seasonal influenza, commonly called “flu,” is a contagious illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract (the nose, throat, and lungs) and can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications. Influenza viruses mainly spread from person to person, in droplets from coughs and sneezes.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND COMPLICATIONS OF THE FLU?

The flu usually comes on suddenly.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • body aches
  • sore throat
  • headache

Some of the complications caused by flu include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections. The flu can cause mild to severe illness for days, and in some cases can lead to more serious health problems and even death.

WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PROTECT MYSELF FROM FLU THIS SEASON?

  • Get the flu vaccination. For optimal protection, aim to get vaccinated as early as possible. All NYC Health + Hospitals facilities offer flu vaccination at no charge for patients, visitors, and personnel. Vaccinations are also offered by doctor’s offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, and many employers.
  • Wash or disinfect your hands thoroughly before eating; upon arrival at work and arrival at home; and whenever they are dirty.

CAN I GET THE FLU FROM THE FLU VACCINE?

No, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot. The flu shot contains inactivated (killed) flu viruses that cannot cause illness.

You should speak to your doctor before receiving flu vaccination if you:

  • have had a major previous reaction requiring medical care to either flu vaccine or to eggs
  • have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome

CAN I GET VACCINATED AND STILL GET THE FLU?

  • You can still get the flu if you are exposed to a flu virus before vaccination or during the two-week period that it takes the body to develop protection after getting vaccinated.
  • The flu vaccine is made to protect against the three or four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common, but there are many different flu viruses that circulate every year and you may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine.

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