Flu and the flu vaccine
Updated Oct. 17, 2022
- Flu can cause mild to severe illness. At times it can lead to death.
- Most people who get the flu will recover in several days to less than two weeks. But some people will develop complications as a result of the flu.
- Flu regularly ranks among the top ten causes of death in the U.S.
- In normal times, every year 40 to 60 million Americans get the flu, and 12,000 to 61,000 of them die.
- The CDC recommends annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, with few exceptions.
- It is especially important that people in some higher-risk groups get flu vaccines, such as:
- People at high risk of serious flu complications. For example, flu can be more dangerous for the elderly, people with underlying health conditions like diabetes, and children.
- People who live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications. In this case, the flu vaccine helps protect both you and the people you love.
- The flu vaccine is updated every year. This is to combat the flu viruses that research indicates are most likely to cause illness during the upcoming season.
- Getting both the flu and COVID-19 together – or one after the other – could also lead to major health issues.
- The flu vaccine does not give you the flu. Even a low fever or muscle soreness are signs the vaccine is working.
- There are some people who should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a doctor.
- Virtually all health insurance plans usually cover flu vaccines. However, they may place restrictions on where a person can receive the shot for free. (As always, check with your health provider's office or insurance plan if you're not sure).
- Flu vaccines are one of the ways we protect our own patients. All UC Davis Health employees are required to get a flu vaccine, with limited exceptions.
For background and details on flu prevention and safety, visit the CDC's Prevent Seasonal Flu web page.