Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Vaccination and Preventable Disease

Pronounced (in-floo-EN-za)

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and can lead to hospitalization and death. Every year in the United States, millions of people are sickened, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from the flu.

Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people) and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age, but some people are a higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.

The best way and most important step to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine each year. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year. An annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect against flu.
See current flu vaccine recommendations.

Page last reviewed: November 22, 2016