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Flu Information
Posted On:
Monday, April 30, 2018

Influenza Information ACT (2014-274)

Influenza Disease

What is influenza disease? Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus.

The virus infects the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, hospitalization, and even death.


What are the symptoms?

Anyone can get flu and it strikes suddenly and can last several days.

Symptoms of flu disease may include: Fever or feeling feverish/chills, Muscle or body aches, Headaches, Cough, Fatigue (very tired), Sore throat, Vomiting and diarrhea, Runny or stuffy nose


How does influenza disease spread? Flu is spread by:

  • An infected person's droplets from cough, sneeze or talk enter the mouth, eye or nose.
  • Touching a surface or object with flu virus on it and then touching mouth, eyes or nose.

An infected person can infect others 1 day before symptoms start and up to 5 to 7 days after symptoms start. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.


How do I prevent the flu?

Get a yearly flu vaccine. Wash your hands properly and often. Cover your cough and sneeze with arm. Clean and sterilize surfaces. Stay home if you are sick.


Influenza Vaccine

Who should get the influenza (flu) vaccine?

The flu vaccine is recommended every year for everyone age 6 months or older.


Who should be vaccinated against influenza because they are at increased risk?

Children 6 months of age through 5 years, Adults 65 years of age or older, Pregnant women, Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,

People who have medical conditions including the following:

*Asthma                             * Weakened immune systems           *Blood disorders

*Chronic lung disease                   due to disease or medication               *Kidney disorders

*Heart disease                      *People younger than 19 years              *Liver disorders

*Extremely obese people          receiving long-term aspirin therapy


What are the common vaccine side effects and risks?

Flu vaccines are safe, but some side effects can occur.

Minor problems following the flu vaccine include soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot, hoarseness, sore, red or itchy eyes, cough, fever, aches, headache, itching, and fatigue.

More serious problems may include Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) in fewer than 1 or 2 cases per one million people vaccinated, children receiving multiple vaccines slightly increase in fever with seizure.

People who should not get the flu vaccine include anyone with severe, life threatening allergies, had GBS before, or not feeling well the day of vaccination.


Where can I find more information?

Ask your doctor. Ask you school nurse. Call the Alabama Department of Public Health, Immunization Division, at 1­800-469-4599. Go to


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