Improving Health


3 Facts You Should Know About the Flu

Posted by Jill Berg, R.N. on September 7, 2022


Flu season lasts from October to May of each year. Discover the facts you need to know to stay healthy this upcoming flu season. 

What is the influenza or the flu?

Influenza or flu is a contagious and potentially very serious respiratory illness. Symptoms of the flu can be mild, such as fever, cough and body aches and last for only a few days; or be more severe and lead to other complications such as pneumonia.

Getting the vaccine may not prevent you from getting sick with the flu, but it will boost your immunity and help you to not get as sick. Here are answers to common questions about the flu. 

Why do I need an annual flu vaccine?

Unlike other vaccines that you may only need once in your lifetime, the flu vaccine changes to keep up with changes to the flu virus. There are two main types of flu virus that are responsible for the annual flu season: Type A and Type B. 

How effective is a flu vaccine?

The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies year to year. When the vaccine matches the viruses that are spreading each year, the flu vaccine can reduce the risk of a serious flu illness by 40-60% (CDC). New versions of the vaccine are developed twice a year to increase effectiveness against the virus as it changes. Therefore, it is important that we get vaccinated each year to protect against the flu virus.  

Who should get a flu vaccine?

According to guidelines from the CDC, everyone ages 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. Pregnant women are also strongly encouraged to get the flu vaccine.

3 Flu Facts You Should Know

In addition to vaccination, it is important to wash your hands often, cover your mouth if you cough and stay home if you are sick to reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus to others. It's also important to know the following flu facts: 

  1. The flu is contagious before you start showing symptoms (CDC)
  2. The flu can take up to two weeks before the flu vaccine starts to work
  3. The flu vaccine does not cause the flu

Have questions about the flu vaccine? Learn more at the Centers for Disease Control website or ask your primary care provider. 

Schedule an Appointment
Jill Berg, R.N.

About The Author

Jill Berg, R.N.

Jill Berg (Tulsa, OK) joined CareATC in June of 2020 to develop the Population Health Department. Jill has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She has worked in healthcare for ten years. As a Registered Nurse, Jill has experience in intensive care with a focus on cardiovascular intensive care. Jill is an Air Force Veteran and served in support of Operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan prior to starting a career in healthcare.

Post Topics Healthy Lifestyles