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Every flu season is unique and influenza infection can affect people differently. Millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and thousands of people die from flu-related causes. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against the flu.

Vaccination has many benefits including reducing the risk or severity of flu illnesses and hospitalizations, and even the risk of flu-related death in children. Vaccination to prevent the flu is important for people who are at increased risk for severe illness and complications from the flu. People at high risk from the flu include those with chronic diseases.

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Quick Links

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About the Flu

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Find a Flu Shot

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Vaccine Toolkit

What is influenza (flu)?

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. Each year, as many as 45 million Americans get sick with flu and as many as 810,000 Americans are hospitalized with influenza.

Flu Symptoms

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

*Not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Why is getting a flu shot especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Getting your flu shot every year protects you, protects your family, and helps make sure healthcare workers and hospitals in your community have the resources to continue to treat COVID-19 patients. It’s also possible to get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, so it’s especially important for people with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of serious complications—and their caregivers—to get their flu shots.

How Flu Spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouths, noses or eyes.

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Women getting flu shot

Find a flu shot

Check both of the resources below to find a location that’s right for you:

Free and Low Cost Flu Vaccines – MDHHS

Encuentre una vacuna contra la gripe

Consulte los siguientes recursos para encontrar una ubicación adecuada para usted.

Vacunas gratuitas/de bajo costo – MDHHS 

Vaccine Toolkit

Help us spread the word about the importance of the flu vaccine. Feel free to use any of these documents.

For questions on using these items, email: reach@nkfm.org

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Better Choices, Better Health® is a 6-week small group workshop offered on a dedicated website to help people living with chronic conditions to manage them better.

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The Arthritis Foundation Walk With Ease Program is an exercise program that can reduce pain and improve overall health. If you can be on your feet for 10 minutes without increased pain, you can have success with Walk With Ease. Participants walk on their own schedule at their own pace with a goal of building to 30 minutes for at least three days a week by the end of the program. The program has helped participants improve balance, build confidence in walking pace, and improves limitation.

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If you’re at risk of type 2 diabetes, the DPP's small group setting, along with a trained and passionate coach, helps you make sustained, healthy lifestyle changes.