The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone over the age of 6 months.
Each year's seasonal flu vaccine contains protection from the three or four influenza viruses that are expected to be the most common during that year's flu season. The vaccine is typically available as an injection or as a nasal spray.
Controlling the spread of infection
The influenza vaccine isn't 100 percent effective, so it's also important to take measures such as these to reduce the spread of infection:
Sept. 29, 2015
- Wash your hands. Thorough and frequent hand-washing is an effective way to prevent many common infections. Or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water aren't readily available.
- Contain your coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. To avoid contaminating your hands, cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the inner crook of your elbow.
- Avoid crowds. Flu spreads easily wherever people congregate — in child care centers, schools, office buildings, auditoriums and public transportation. By avoiding crowds during peak flu season, you reduce your chances of infection. And, if you're sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides so that you lessen your chance of infecting others.
- Longo DL, et al., eds. Influenza. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed June 10, 2015.
- What you should know for the 2014-2015 influenza season. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2014-2015.htm. Accessed May 31, 2015.
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- Bennett JE, et al. Influenza (including avian and swine influenza). In: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 27, 2015.
- The flu: What to do if you get sick. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm. Accessed May 31, 2015.