The Single Best Way to Protect Against the Flu is to Get Vaccinated Each Year.

Two Types of Seasonal Flu Vaccines

1/ The “flu shot” is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in HEALTHY people older than 6 months, including HEALTHY people and people with chronic medical conditions.

2/ The nasal-spray flu vaccine is a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu. It is approved for use in HEALTHY people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant. The nasal-spray flu vaccine costs MORE than the “flu-shot” however the idea of getting a flu shot is not very appealing to some people – especially young children. Most people only need one dose of FluMist, however, children ages 2-8 years need two does at least six weeks apart the first year that they get it.
When Should I Get Vaccinated?

Yearly flu vaccination should begin as soon as the vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, typically most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later.
Who Should NOT get a Seasonal “Flu Shot”?

• People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
• People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
• People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine.
• Children less than 6 months of age
• People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever.

Who Should NOT get the Seasonal “Nasal-Spray” Flu Vaccine?

• Children under the age of 2
• Adults over the age of 50
• Women who are pregnant
• People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs
• People who have asthma or other reactive airway diseases.
• People with chronic underlying medical conditions.
• People who have problems with immune suppression, including those with immune deficiency diseases such as AIDS and Cancer
• People who are taking drugs that cause immune suppression.

Vaccine Effectiveness: The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine, and the similarity or “match” between the virus strains in the vaccine and those in circulation. Testing has shown that both the flu shot and the nasal-spray vaccine are effective at preventing the flu.
NOTE: Seasonal flu vaccines do NOT protect people from H1N1