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DPH Home > Programs & Services > Flu Vaccinations and Information
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Flu Vaccinations and Information
Symptoms and Complications of Flu:
Annual Flu Shots

Annual flu shots are recommended for all persons aged 6 months and older, especially:
People 50 years and older
Pregnant women
People with chronic medical conditions
Health care workers
People in long-time health care facilities
Caregivers of children under 6 months or other high risk individuals

For additional information or to make an appointment for the seasonal flu vaccine at a regular Department of Public Health clinic, please call 1-800-722-4777.
Flu Vaccine

The "flu shot" is either an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle or a live, attenuated vaccine administered as a spray mist in the nostrils. The type of flu shot an individual can receive is based on his/her age and medical condition. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions. About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.

When to Get Vaccinated

October or November is the best time to get vaccinated, but you can still get vaccinated in the months of December, January, and later. Flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May.

Fever (usually high)
Extreme tiredness
Dry cough
Sore throat
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle aches
photo of woman blowing her nose
Gastro-intestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, are much more common among children than adults.

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.

How Flu Spreads

The flu spreads in respiratory droplets caused by coughing and sneezing. It usually spreads from person to person, though occasionally a person may become infected by touching something with virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before getting symptoms and up to 7 days after getting sick. That means that you can give someone the flu before you know you’re sick as well as while you are sick.

For More Information About the Flu
and Flu Vaccine

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

California Department of Health Services

Other Good Health Habits
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.