Preventing the Flu

Young Woman Getting a Flu Shot

know what to do about the flu

Get a flu shot. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor's visits, and missed work and school due to the flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and death. It is recommended to get a flu shot once a year. Flu shots are offered at many places, including doctor's offices, pharmacies, clinics, and some schools and workplaces.

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Find out where to get a flu shot

Take Other Prevention Steps

Prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Avoid contact with sick individuals. Stay home if you are sick. Cover your nose when you cough and sneeze.

Take flu medications if your doctor prescribes them. If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.

Stay hydrated, and drink plenty of fluids.

About the Flu Vaccine

The Vermont Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention encourage all Vermonters to get vaccinated, especially those at high risk of complications.

Vaccination is recommended if you are:

  • Age 6 months and older
  • At high risk of complications from the flu, or if you are in contact with someone who is at high risk

High-risk groups include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding mothers
  • All adults 50 years of age and older
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long term care facilities
  • Healthcare workers
  • Travelers
  • People with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People with a compromised immune system
  • Anyone with a condition that can compromise respiratory function
  • People at high risk for severe complications from influenza

Learn more about flu vaccine from CDC

Flu Vaccine Effectiveness

Flu viruses are constantly changing, so the vaccine is reviewed each year and updated as needed based on which influenza viruses are making people sick, how much those viruses are spreading, and how well last season’s vaccine protects against those viruses.

How well the flu vaccine works varies from season to season. Each flu season, CDC studies how well the flu vaccine protects against flu illness.

Learn more about flu vaccine effectiveness

In June, 2016, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in favor of an interim recommendation that the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season. The recommendation to not use the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) was renewed for the 2017-2018 season. Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use again this season. The ACIP decision follows data showing poor or relatively lower effectiveness of the nasal spray vaccine from 2013 through 2016.ACIP continues to recommend annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older.

More information about the 2017-2018 flu season

Nasal spray flu vaccine effectiveness studies