Questions 1: A flu vaccine can't give you the flu.
The flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. The viruses in the vaccine are inactivated (i.e., killed), which means they cannot cause infection.
Question 2: The 'stomach flu' and influenza are the same thing.
The flu is a respiratory disease, not a stomach or intestinal disease. The main symptoms of the flu are fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat and muscle aches.
Question 3: Getting a flu vaccine in December or later is not too late.
CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccination, by the end of October, if possible. CDC continues to recommend flu vaccination as long as flu viruses are circulating, even in January or later. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and March, although activity can last as late as May.
Question 4: Flu viruses change constantly which requires a new flu vaccine to be produced each year.
The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on worldwide monitoring of influenza viruses.
Question 5: Washing your hands is the best thing you can do to protect against the flu.
CDC recommends a flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.
Question 6: The flu vaccine protects against three strains of flu.
While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.
Question 7: The flu is typically spread through coughs and/or sneezes.
Flu virus is mainly spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes.
Question 8: The flu vaccine is available as a shot or a nasal spray.
Nasal spray flu vaccine (sold under the trade name FluMist®) was first approved by FDA during 2003 and is still an FDA-approved product; however, the nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for use during 2016-2017 because of concerns about its effectiveness. CDC continues to recommend flu shots during 2016-2017, including inactivated influenza vaccines and the recombinant influenza vaccine.
Question 9: The flu vaccine is available as a shot or a nasal spray.
Flu vaccine is also available as a nasal spray (brand name FluMist). The nasal spray flu vaccine is an option for healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.
Question 10: You can spread the flu to others before you have symptoms.
Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after becoming sick.
Question 11: The flu vaccine offers protection immediately after it is given.
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that provide protection against influenza virus infection. That is why it's better to get vaccinated before the flu season really gets under way. CDC recommends people get vaccinated by the end of October, if possible.