Influenza (Flu) Information
About the Flu
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold and usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of the following symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness), and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Take Everyday Preventive Actions to Stop the Spread of Germs
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
About the Flu Vaccine
An annual flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your chances of getting the seasonal flu and spreading it to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccine. Each year, the CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as other partners, to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines.
Flu vaccines are made by using killed flu viruses (for inactivated vaccines), or without flu virus at all (for the recombinant vaccine). Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. Since the flu virus changes, new vaccines need to be made and administered every year. This is why you need to get a new flu vaccine every year!
High-Dose Flu Vaccine
People 65 years and older are at the highest risk for flu-related deaths and have poorer immune responses to flu vaccines than younger people. Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent contains four times the antigen, the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses, than Fluzone Quadrivalent and other standard-dose inactivated flu vaccines. The higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is intended to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu. If a high-dose flu vaccine is not available, we still recommend flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu.
Where to Get the Flu Vaccine?
Visit your health care provider, local pharmacy, or call the Nashua Division of Public Health at 603-589-4500, option 2.