What you should know about the 2014-15 flu season

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.

Get a jump on flu. Don't wait to vaccinate.

Getting an annual flu vaccine (flu shot or nasal spray) is the single best way to protect yourself and your family from flu and flu-related complications such as Enterovirus D-68, pneumonia or bronchitis. 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 your hands properly and frequently. Teach children when and how often to wash hands. 
  • Cover your cough and sneeze. 
  • Contain your germs. Stay home when sick.

Additional information about the 2014-2015 Flu vaccine.

The 2014-2015 influenza vaccine is made to protect against the three viruses research indicates will be most common this year.

All vaccine protects against: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus, A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus, and B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus; and some also protects against an additional B virus (B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus). 

There are several flu vaccine delivery options:

Flu shots are available for people as young as 6 months old, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions. There are intradermal flu shots for adults 18 to 64 years old and a high-dose flu shots for people over 65 years old, as well.

Nasal spray is available for people ages 2 thru 49 years old. Healthy children 2 years through 8 years of age should get the nasal spray vaccine. For more information about the types of influenza vaccine, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/vaccines.htm.