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Seasonal Flu Vaccine

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Updated December 04, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Vaccines

Photo © Christopher Furlong/Getty

What is the Seasonal Flu Vaccine?:

The flu vaccine is either a shot or nasal spray that is intended to protect a person against the circulating strains of the seasonal influenza virus. It is more commonly known as a flu shot.

Who Needs the Seasonal Flu Vaccine:

Starting with the 2010-11 flu season, officials recommend that everyone over the age of 6 months get the influenza vaccine. However, certain groups of people are at increased risk for the flu and are considered "high priority" groups. These include:

  • Children ages 6 months to 18 years
  • Adults over age 50
  • Anyone living in a long term-care facility
  • Health care workers and other public service providers (firefighters, police officers, etc.)
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone with a chronic health condition (asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes and many others)
  • Caregivers for high risk individuals

Who Should Not Get a Seasonal Flu Vaccine:

While most everyone should get an influenza vaccine, there are certain groups of people who should not. This includes:

  • Infants under 6 months old
  • Anyone with a severe egg allergy
  • Anyone with a history of Guillain Barre Syndrome
  • Anyone with a fever at the time of vaccination
  • Those with a previous adverse reaction to the influenza vaccine
  • Anyone with an allergy to any other ingredient in the vaccine

How the Flu Vaccine is Given:

Flu vaccines are available in two different forms - by injection or nasal spray. To learn more about these two options, read:

What Else You Need to Know About the Flu Vaccine:

How Flu Shots Work
An explanation of how flu vaccines are manufactured, why we need one every year and why they may not always work.

Where to Find a Flu Shot Near You
Influenza vaccines are available in a number of locations, not just at your doctor's office.

Sources:

"Key Facts About Influenza(Flu) Vaccine." Influenza (Flu). 16 Oct 09. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 18 April 10.

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