What is the flu virus?
Flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory virus that affects the respiratory system and spreads easily from person-to-person through coughing and sneezing. It can cause mild to severe illness, and even death in some cases. Symptoms include: Fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. To see the latest weekly flu surveillance report, please click here. Flu surveillance data, as well as interactive maps of local flu activity, can also be viewed in our online application available here.
Who should get a flu vaccine?
With rare exception, CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, including pregnant women and people with medical conditions.
Don’t wait to vaccinate
Getting an annual flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your family from flu and flu-related complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or worsening of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, or diabetes. It can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to provide full protection. Since flu season could begin in October and last into May, it’s best to get vaccinated now. People who are at increased risk of developing serious complications from flu should definitely get a flu vaccine; as should their caregivers.
Limit the spread of illness
In addition to getting vaccinated, encourage family members to take these common sense measures to protect against flu.
Practice the three C’s to stay healthy and prevent germs from spreading at home, work and school:
Clean: properly wash your hands frequently
Cover: cover your cough and sneeze
Contain: contain your germs by staying home if you are sick
Flu vaccine delivery options for 2018-19
CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine, including inactivated influenza vaccines [IIV], recombinant influenza vaccines [RIC] and live attenuated influenza vaccines [LAIV] during 2018-2019. The nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) is again an option for vaccination during the 2018-2019 season. Both trivalent (three-component) and quadrivalent (four-component) flu vaccines will be available. Click here to learn more about vaccine recommendations.
For more information about flu, prevention, symptoms and treatment, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flu website. For flu vaccine, contact your primary care provider, local pharmacy, Ambulatory and Community Health Network of Cook County clinics or use the Vaccine Finder above, right.