The Basics: Overview
Everyone age 6 months and older needs to get a flu vaccine every year. Seasonal flu vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu.
For many people, the seasonal flu is a mild illness. But sometimes, the flu can be serious or even deadly.
- Is linked to serious infections like pneumonia (“noo-MOHN-yah”)
- Can make existing health problems worse (for example, long-term heart or lung disease)
- Can lead to hospitalization or death
Flu vaccines can help prevent people from getting sick with the flu – and lower the risk of hospitalization and death caused by the flu.
The flu spreads easily from person to person. When you get a flu vaccine, you don’t just protect yourself. You also protect everyone around you.
When do I need to get the seasonal flu vaccine?
Get a flu vaccine by the end of October each year. After you get the vaccine, it takes about 2 weeks for your body to develop protection against the flu. That’s why it’s a good idea to get the vaccine before the flu starts to spread in your community.
If you don’t get the vaccine by the end of October, it’s not too late. Getting the vaccine later can still protect you from the flu. Keep in mind that flu season can last as late as May.