Influenza or “flu” is caused by a contagious virus that infects your lungs and respiratory system. There are different strains of the influenza virus that are passed around the world. Symptoms of the flu may be mild or severe, and include fever, dry cough, sore throat, muscle aches and generally feeling tired and sick.

Will the virus be worse this year since we are not wearing masks?

Influenza viruses are spread by droplets that enter the respiratory system through our nose and mouth. Washing your hands is the best defense, but masks also reduce the likelihood of many types of respiratory (lung) infections. As the seasons change and we move indoors, viruses become more robust (cold, drier weather keeps them infectious longer) and that is why more people get sick during the winter months.

If I get the flu vaccine, will it also protect me from COVID? If I get the COVID vaccine, will it protect me from the flu?

The influenza virus and the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are different viruses and need different vaccines. Doctors worry about potential “double infections”, so vaccines are an even better idea this year.

Can I get the flu from the influenza vaccine?

No, the flu vaccine is made with an inactivated (dead) virus, so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot.

Will the flu shot protect me from all influenza viruses?

The seasonal flu vaccine protects you against strains that are expected to be the most common in the upcoming flu season. Health organizations from around the world, including the CDC, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the World Health Organization (WHO), work together to identify the strains of the flu virus that should be protected against through vaccination. While the flu shot will not protect you from all influenza viruses, research by the CDC suggests getting vaccinated reduces the risk of influenza illness by about 50% to 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are like the vaccine viruses.

Will the seasonal flu shot protect me from getting stomach flu?

The stomach flu is the non-clinical term for gastroenteritis, which means inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of the stomach flu include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and cramping. Since influenza is a respiratory disease, it does not cause gastroenteritis commonly known as the stomach flu. Gastroenteritis is caused by other viruses such as norovirus and rotavirus. The seasonal flu shot only provides protection from the influenza virus, so it does not provide protection against gastroenteritis.

How can I help protect myself and others from the flu?

Take time to get a flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best way for people 6 months of age and older to protect themselves from the flu. The CDC recommends getting a flu shot as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available.


The 2021-2022 seasonal flu vaccine




How can you protect yourself from the flu?

Take everyday precautions to prevent the spread of the flu:

  • One of the best ways to stop the spread of the flu virus is to wash your hands regularly with soap and water. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to keep your hands clean when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, mouth or face because contact with these areas can easily spread germs to yourself and others.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Then, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • If possible, limit interaction with people who may have the flu.
  • Use sanitizing wipes (e.g., Clorox or Lysol Wipes) to clean hard surfaces in your home, office and car. It is especially important to wipe down surfaces frequently touched by yourself and others. Some examples include phones, computer keyboards, remote controls, door knobs and faucet handles.

Take flu antiviral drugs if prescribed by your doctor.

If you do get the flu or are experiencing flu-like symptoms, it is important to see your doctor when you start feeling sick. There are antiviral drugs available that can help you recover more quickly.

Find out more about scheduling flu vaccines for your company with Be Well Solutions: Flu Vaccine

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