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Get a Flu Shot

Photo of a man blowing his nose with a tissue

The Basics

Adults age 50 and older should get a flu shot every year. You can get a flu shot at your doctor’s office or health center.

When Should I get the Flu Shot?
October or November is the best time to get a flu shot, but you can still get the shot in December or later. Flu season can last as late as May.

Why Should I get a Flu Shot?
For many people, the flu is a mild illness. But for older adults, especially those with diabetes, heart disease, or breathing problems, the flu can lead to serious infections, hospitalization, or even death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot.

What is the Flu?
The flu is caused by a virus that infects your nose, throat, and lungs. It’s easily spread from person to person. Symptoms of the flu include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches

The Benefits

Getting a flu shot can prevent serious illness, such as pneumonia. The flu can also make some health problems worse, such as:

  • Asthma or other lung problems
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

If you do get sick, the flu shot can ease your flu symptoms and shorten the length of your illness.

Are There any Side Effects?
There is no reason to worry. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. The flu shot is made from dead flu virus that will not cause the flu.

Side effects from the flu shot are mild. Some people feel sore at the spot where they got the shot.

Take Action!

You can get a flu shot at your doctor’s office or clinic. You may also be able to get a flu shot from your local health department, pharmacy, or your employer.

Find a Flu Clinic Near you
Use this flu clinic locator External Link to find out where you can get a flu shot in your area

What About Cost?
Your flu shot is free if you have Medicare Part B. Most private health insurance plans also cover the flu shot.

Fight off the Flu
Here are some things you can do to keep from getting and spreading the flu:

  • Stay away from people who are sick. If you are sick, stay home.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Drink lots of liquids.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Try not to touch your nose, mouth, or eyes.

Fight the flu and stay healthy with tips on eating healthy and getting active.

What do you want to do today?

  • Use the flu clinic locatorExternal Link to find out where you can get a flu shot.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Tell a friend about the flu shot.
  • National Health Information Center

    P.O. Box 1133, Washington, DC 20013-1133