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Get a Flu Vaccine

Don't let the flu catch you by surprise this season. Be prepared; get vaccinated today.

After a busy holiday season, you might be reluctant to add one more thing to your to-do list. But it's worth it.

"Getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it's the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu," says Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and Director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Flu season is here! Flu activity is widespread in most of the country, with high levels of flu activity likely to continue for several weeks. If you have not gotten your flu vaccination yet this season, you should get one now. A flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and the people around you from influenza and its potentially serious complications.

Get a Flu Vaccine Every Flu Season

The best way to protect against the flu is to get a flu vaccine every flu season. The flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Anyone can get the flu, and getting a flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your family. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to friends and loved ones. Everyone 6 months of age and older is recommended to get vaccinated against the flu every year.

Flu activity is unpredictable but often peaks in February. And although there are many different flu viruses, the yearly flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common that flu season.

Important reminder for parents and caregivers: Many children getting vaccinated against the flu for the first time will need 2 doses of flu vaccine to be fully protected. If a child has not received his/her first dose, get them vaccinated now. For those who have been vaccinated with one dose, parents should check with the child's doctor to see if a second dose is needed for the best possible protection.

Who Is at Risk?

Everyone is at risk for getting the flu. For millions of people each year, the flu can bring a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. However, you may not realize that the flu also leads to more than 200,000 flu-related hospitalizations per year. The flu also can be deadly. Between 1976 and 2007, CDC estimates that annual flu-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of about 3,000 people to a high of about 49,000 people.

Photo: Pregnant woman and son sitting on floorAnyone can get the flu, but some people are at greater risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia. For those at greater risk for complications, getting the flu vaccine is especially important. Some of the groups at greater risk include:

It also is important to get vaccinated if you care for anyone in these high risk groups, including babies younger than 6 months because they are too young to get vaccinated themselves.

Get Vaccinated – It's Not Too Late

Poster: No More Excuse. There are many places to get your flu vaccine..You and your family can still benefit from a flu vaccine. Make a commitment to your health and to your family's health by getting your flu vaccine today. Flu vaccines are offered in many doctors' offices, clinics, grocery stores, pharmacies, local health departments, and possibly even your child's school or your workplace. So even if you don't have a regular doctor, you can get a flu vaccine at many other locations. Use the Flu Vaccine Finder to find the nearest location with available flu vaccine.

So don't let the flu catch you by surprise this season; be prepared and get vaccinated today if you haven't already!

For more information about the seriousness of the flu and the benefits of the flu vaccine, talk to your family's doctor or visit www.cdc.gov/flu.

 

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  • Page last reviewed: January 21, 2014
  • Page last updated: January 27, 2014
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