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Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each fall.
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each fall.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against influenza virus strains that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The 2017-2018 flu vaccine protects against 2009 H1N1, and two or three other influenza virus strains depending on whether the trivalent or quadrivalent vaccine is administered, an H3N2 virus and influenza B virus strains for the trivalent vaccine. A Yamagata lineage B strain is also protected with the quadrivalent vaccine. The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists' estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year. About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.
In 2010 CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for "universal" flu vaccination in the U.S. to expand protection against the flu to more people. This means everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year starting with the 2010-2011 influenza season.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it’s especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:
DPH recommends residents take the following steps to prevent viral illnesses and relieve symptoms should they occur:
See our Educational Resources for Prevention Influenza page for posters and other resources.
Watch the video The Faces of Influenza. This is a video clip of a recent commercial about who needs influenza shots.
If you are in the high-risk group:
For additional information call the Delaware Immunization Program office, visit www.cdc.gov/flu or www.flu.gov, or call the CDC public response telephone hotline at 1-888-246-2675 (English), 1-888-246-2857 (Español) or 1-866-874-2646 (TTY).
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