Frequently Asked Questions about Flu

Everyone ages 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year.

If you’re at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, flu vaccination is especially important. These groups include:

  • Adults 65 and older
  • Adults with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney
  • Pregnant people
  • Children younger than 5 years, but especially those younger than 2 years old.

Added November 3, 2022 

No. You should get a flu shot as soon as you can if you’re not yet vaccinated.

Flu season starts in the fall, and most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February. The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated early in the season, ideally by October 30, but it’s not too late to get critical protection from the flu if you’re not yet vaccinated.

Added November 3, 2022 

Getting the vaccine reduces your chance of getting sick. It’s possible to catch the flu even if you’re vaccinated, but the vaccine reduces the severity of illness if you do get sick. If you’re vaccinated and still get the flu, you have a lower chance of getting seriously ill or needing hospitalization. 

Added November 3, 2022 

Yes. It is safe to get your flu shot and COVID-19 booster the same day if you are eligible for both. (See: COVID-19 Booster Doses for more information about eligibility.)

Added November 3, 2022 

The best way to know if you or your child is sick with flu, RSV, or COVID-19 is to get tested for these viruses.

Flu, RSV, and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses that can have varying degrees of symptoms, from no symptoms to severe symptoms. You cannot tell the difference between these illnesses by symptoms alone because they have some of the same signs and symptoms. Common symptoms between the two viruses include fever, cough, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, and several others.

You need specific testing to confirm if you are sick with either virus. You can test for COVID-19 at home, while most flu tests and RSV tests are administered by a medical professional. Contact your health care provider if you have questions about testing and treatment, especially if you or your child are at high risk for complications from flu, RSV, or COVID-19.

Added November 3, 2022 

Messaging Resources about Flu

Toolkit: Flu Messaging and Resources

Misinformation Alerts about Flu

Vaccine-opposing scientist claims flu shot doesn’t protect against the flu

A physician-researcher who gained prominence for promoting COVID-19 conspiracy theories recently claimed that the flu vaccine is “built on a lie.” In a video clip, he falsely claims that the purpose of the vaccine is not to protect against the flu but to indoctrinate people into taking a vaccine every year. Recommendation: High Risk

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