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.
symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, are much more common among children
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.
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
of Health and Human Services, Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention
California Department of Health Services