Your top questions answered
Everyone six months and older should get the flu shot. Those at highest risk of developing complications include:
- Adults 65 years and older
- Children younger than two years old
- Adults with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, lung disease, heart disease, and diabetes
- Those who are pregnant or are up to two weeks postpartum
- Certain racial and ethnic minority groups, including non-Hispanic Black persons, Hispanic or Latino persons, and American Indian or Alaska Native persons
- People who live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities
For a complete list, visit the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
Talk to your doctor before getting the flu shot if you or a family member have a health condition, most importantly any of the following:
- An allergy to eggs, or any other ingredient in the vaccine
- Have had Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Are currently ill with a fever
- Aren't feeling well
- If you've been exposed to, or diagnosed with COVID-19, you should postpone vaccination until you've met the criteria to indicate you're no longer required to isolate. This will avoid exposing others to the virus.
Yes. The best way to reduce your risk for flu, or spreading it to others, is to get a flu shot every year. The shot also helps protect you from serious complications if you do get the flu. Wearing a mask and social distancing are great tools, but are most effective when combined with a flu shot.
The CDC recommends that people should get a flu vaccine by the end of October, before the virus spreads. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to build up protection against flu, so the sooner you get your shot, the better. But any time is better than not at all. The vaccine is usually available by the end of August and is offered throughout the flu season, which peaks between December and February, but can last all the way through May. It’s really never too late to get your shot!
Any vaccination location following the CDC’s guidance should be a safe place for you to get a flu vaccine. So, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health department if they’re following the CDC's guidelines for vaccination. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center to learn more about your care options during the pandemic.
Possibly. It’s not unusual for some children ages six months to eight years to require two doses. Learn more about whether your child needs more than one shot — and be sure to talk to your child's doctor before your child gets vaccinated.
The CDC doesn’t recommend one flu vaccine over another. It’s more important for everyone six months or older to get the flu vaccine as soon as they can. If you have questions about which flu vaccine to get, talk to your doctor.
If you experience symptoms like fever of 102–104°F, shortness of breath, muscle pain, or body aches, contact your doctor for guidance. Even colds come with symptoms like chest congestion, coughing, and fever. When in doubt, contact your doctor. And in any case, it’s best to follow these safety guidelines for both flu and COVID-19, to help prevent the spread of flu and coronavirus to your family, friends, and community.
Yes, and each can make the other worse. Doctors are still learning about the risks of having both viruses at the same time, and how common this is. In the meantime, it makes good sense to get your flu shot and take extra precautions to prevent transmission. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for help. The CDC also has helpful information about flu and coronavirus.
Seek prompt medical attention
If you’re pregnant or in a high-risk group, seek medical help right away if you’ve been exposed to the flu or you've developed symptoms.
Call your doctor
Talk to them about treatment options, especially if you have a high risk of flu complications or are very sick. Your doctor may want to treat you over the phone, so that you can stay home and avoid contact with others.
Wash your hands
A lot. With soap and water. If those aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Cover your mouth and nose
Every time you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue when doing so. Here’s a hack if you don’t have tissue: cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow to avoid spreading germs. And be sure to wear a mask.
Keep it clean
Sanitize commonly used surfaces and items that may be contaminated with flu germs, such as doorknobs, remote controls, and your phone.
Don’t expose others
Make sure you’re fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to work or other shared activities.
Talk to Team Blue
Call our 24/7 Nurse Line at 1-888-247-BLUE (2583) to talk to a registered nurse, at no additional cost. We’ll guide you through your next steps for care.
Your best shot at avoiding the flu
To prevent getting sick, make the following steps part of your routine. Wear your mask when in public, too. The bonus? Some of these good habits also reduce risk of coronavirus. And be sure to stay at home if you think you might be sick to protect others!
- Get your flu shot
- Avoid close contact in public and with people who are sick
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Get plenty of rest, exercise, fluids, and good nutrition