Everyone 6 months and up needs a flu shot every year.
Remember the flu vaccine is safe and tested. It will not protect you against COVID-19, though other actions that help prevent the flu, like washing your hands and staying apart from others, will help prevent the spread of both the flu and COVID-19! To get your COVID-19 vaccine, visit our COVID-19 vaccination registration page.
The best time to get vaccinated against the flu is September and October.
Read on to learn more about the flu and how to protect yourself and your loved ones!
The 2017-18 flu season was severe, with 172 pediatric deaths in the United States, a record number in a non-pandemic year. About 80% of these deaths occurred in children who did not get the flu shot.
The 2018–19 influenza season was moderately severe, with two waves of influenza A: A(H1N1)pdm09 peaked from October 2018 to mid-February 2019, and A(H3N2) activity increased from mid-February through mid-May.
The 2019-2020 season saw an unusual long, early wave of influenza B. Emergency room visits for flu-like illness were high early in the year, even before COVID-19 cases began to be reported in March.
The 2020-21 season was milder due to COVID-19 restrictions and precautions. View weekly reports and weekly summary information here: https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/influenza/fluwatch/Pages/Index.aspx
For the 2021-2022 flu season:
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, with few exceptions.
- The flu vaccine is well-tested and safe.
- People can get both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Compare flu and COVID-19
All flu shots are now quadrivalent, protecting against four different flu viruses.
- FAQs for Flu Season 2021-2022
To prevent the flu:
Get your flu shot. Everyone 6 months and over should get the flu shot every year.
The flu shot does not cause the flu. Flu vaccines are made from an inactivated virus that can’t make you sick. Some people feel a little achy and have a low-grade fever after getting vaccinated, but that is just a sign that your body’s immune system is working.
Flu vaccine effectiveness (VE) can change from year to year. How well the vaccine works depends in part on the match between the vaccine and the active viruses that season.
Reduce the spread of germs including flu and coronaviruses
Wear a face covering and stay more than 6 feet from people who are not members of your household when you are in public to help reduce your risk.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth, because germs spread easily that way.
Clean and disinfect things that may be contaminated with germs, like doorknobs and cell phones.
Stay home when you are sick. Contact your healthcare provider about your symptoms and if you should be tested or need treatment.
Avoid people who are sick. If you are caring for someone who is sick, take extra steps to prevent germs from spreading. Keep their bedclothes, dishes, cups, and eating utensils separate. Wash your hands after caring for them or cleaning any of their items.
Avoid large gatherings and plan smaller gatherings outdoors when possible.
If you get the flu:
You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:
- fever (not everyone with flu gets a fever)
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- body aches
- sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
Limit contact with others as much as possible. Remember to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Get rest and drink plenty of fluids. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of medication to reduce fever).
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care. But if you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider. They may prescribe antiviral drugs.
Learn about the Flu vs. COVID
Take Antivirals if Recommended
Antivirals are different from antibiotics. They can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. Antivirals work best when they are started within two days of getting sick. Not everyone with the flu needs antivirals, so talk to your health care provider.
If you have the flu and experience any of these symptoms, you should go to the emergency room:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
For more information and symptoms in infants and children, visit Protect Against the Flu: Caregivers of Infants and Young Children and Children and Influenza
Pneumococcal pneumonia is an example of a serious flu-related complication that can cause death. People who are 65 years of age and older should also be up to date with pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumonia and related infections. Talk to your doctor to find out which pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for you.
Community Flu Vaccination Planning Committee
The organizations listed below are working together to provide consistent flu-related messaging and access to flu vaccinations, to increase vaccination rates and protect our community from the flu.