Flu Vaccine (Influenza Immunization or Flu Shot)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Flu Pictures Slideshow: 10 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu

Quick GuideFlu Pictures Slideshow: 10 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu

Flu Pictures Slideshow: 10 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu

What flu viruses does the flu vaccine protect against?

Flu vaccines are developed each year and are designed to protect against the three influenza viruses that are predicted to be the most common during the upcoming season, known as a trivalent vaccine. The 2015-16 flu vaccine is also available in forms that are designed against four virus types (a quadrivalent vaccine).

How does the flu vaccine work to prevent the flu?

The flu vaccines stimulate the production of antibodies in the body that fight the particular flu virus in the vaccination. When the virus enters a person who has been vaccinated, the antibodies attack and kill the virus and prevent infection. Antibodies are produced against the specific strains of the virus contained in the yearly vaccine.

Flu vaccination does not protect against infection caused by microbes other than the influenza virus.

When should one receive the flu vaccine?

It is recommended to get the flu vaccine as soon as the vaccine is available in the community, even as early as August. Flu season can begin in October and last as late as May.

Who should receive the flu vaccine?

The CDC recommends that every individual over 6 months of age receive the seasonal flu vaccine. While vaccination is recommended for everyone, it is particularly important for some groups. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications if they get the flu, such as those with asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease as well as pregnant women and those over 65 years of age. It is also important for people to get vaccinated who are caregivers for or those who live with people in these risk groups.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/20/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Flu Vaccination - Side Effects

    Did you have any side effects from your flu vaccination?

    Post View 100 Comments
  • Flu Vaccine (Flu Shot) - Experience

    Please describe your experience with the flu shot.

    Post View 99 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors