What is the Flu
Influenza is characterized by fever, headache, cough, muscle aches, and weakness with nose, throat and lung congestion. Symptoms can last from a few days to 2 weeks. Children may have nausea and vomiting, but these symptoms are rare in adults. The "stomach flu" is not influenza, rather it is most likely illness caused by other viruses or bacteria.
Who Should Be Vaccinated
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot.
Flu shots are especially important for the following groups who are more likely to have complications if they catch influenza:
- All children from 6 months through 18 years old*
- All persons 50 years of age and older
- All persons who wish to reduce their risk of becoming ill with influenza or of transmitting influenza to others
- Anyone with chronic health conditions, including heart, kidney, lung, or metabolic conditions, diabetes, asthma, or anemia
- Anyone with a condition that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems, such as seizures or cerebral palsy
- Anyone with a weakened immune system due to medical treatment or HIV
- Children and adolescents on long term aspirin therapy
- Healthcare personnel - Vaccination is strongly recommended to protect vulnerable patients
- Healthy household contacts and caregivers of children younger than 5 years of age, or of adults over age 50
- Healthy household contacts and caregivers of persons with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for complications of influenza
- Residents of nursing homes or long term care facilities
- Women who will be pregnant during influenza season
Where to Get the Flu Vaccine
- Adults: Many Jefferson County primary care providers offer adult flu vaccine as do most pharmacies. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) does not offer adult flu vaccine.
- Children: JCPH and all Jefferson County clinics that offer children's vaccines also carry children's flu vaccine. All clinics offer the same vaccine options.
2016-2017 Flu Vaccine Options for Children
- For children 6 to 35 months old: Fluzone quadrivalent preservative free
- For children 36 months through 18 years old: Fluzone quadrivalent
- Flumist? Sorry, not this year. It was found not to be as effective as the other options. It may be reformulated and offered in the future.