Veterans Get the Facts on Flu:
The flu shots will begin in several weeks.
Influenza ("flu") is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every winter, usually between October and May.
Flu is caused by the influenza virus, and can be spread by coughing, sneezing, and close contact.
Get your flu shot, they are FREE at the following locations:
It is recommended that anyone over the age of 6 months of age should get a flu shot.
- Across the U.S., overall seasonal flu activity increased in the United States. Widespread influenza activity was reported by fourteen states (Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas). Guam, Puerto Rico, and 25 states reported regional geographic influenza activity. High influenza-like illness (ILI) activity was identified in Puerto Rico and six states (Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas)
- Within VA facilities, Influenza activity has increased significantly across VA based on the number of influenza hospitalizations, influenza-like illness (ILI) visits, influenza-related telephone care encounters, influenza testing and number of positive influenza laboratory results
- January 11-17, 2015 has been designated as VA Staff Influenza Vaccination Week to promote the importance of annual influenza vaccination for our staff. Many health care personnel (employees, volunteers, and trainees) have already had their flu shots. For those who have not, VA Staff Influenza Vaccination Week is the perfect time to consider getting vaccinated and to encourage your colleagues to take this important personal and public health step
- Flu Vaccine Match: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are warning that only 48% of the samples of A/H3N2 influenza viruses tested since Oct. 1 are closely related to the A/Texas H3N2 strain that was included this season’s flu vaccine. Some may misunderstand this information and decide not to get vaccinated. Please consider the following messages for staff and patient audiences via social media, emails, meeting announcements, and other communication options:
The flu vaccine is still the best defense against flu. Partial protection is better than no protection
Different flu viruses circulate throughout the flu season. This year’s vaccine can still help protect against other types of flu virus all season long
Flu vaccination can still reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths
Antibodies created through vaccination with one type of flu virus can sometimes offer protection against related flu viruses (this is called cross-protection)
The CDC is stressing that health care providers should be prepared to use antiviral medications when needed. These include Oseltamivir and Zanamivir. Antivirals are an important second line of defense against the flu
Promote other measures to prevent flu:
Keep hands and surfaces clean;
Stay home and away from others when sick; and
Cover coughs and sneezes
WHY SHOULD I GET MY FLU SHOT?
Anyone can get flu, but the risk of getting flu is highest among children. Symptoms come on suddenly and may last several days. They can include:
- sore throat
- muscle aches
- runny or stuffy nose
Flu can make some people much sicker than others. These people include young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions:
- kidney disease
- weakened immune system
Flu vaccine is especially important for these people, and anyone in close contact with them
- Flu can also lead to pneumonia, and make existing medical conditions worse. It can cause diarrhea and seizures in children
- Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized
- Flu vaccine is the best protection we have from flu and its complications. Flu vaccine also helps prevent spreading flu from person to person
HOW WELL DOES THE FLU SHOT WORK?
- Studies show that getting a flu shot can reduce illness and death from flu
WHEN SHOULD I GET A FLU SHOT?
- In the fall , as soon as flu shots are available. A flu shot may protect you from the flu the entire season
- Get a flu shot every year as the flu strains change from year to year
CAN I GET THE FLU FROM GETTING THE SHOT?
- NO! Only inactive (dead virus) is used to make the flu shot vaccine, so you cannot get the flu from the flu shot
IS THE FLU SHOT SAFE?
- YES! Most people who get the flu shot do not have serious side effects or reactions to it
I AM ALLERGIC TO EGGS. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
- If you have a severe allergy to chicken eggs, talk with your health provider before getting the flu shot
- Many people with egg allergies can still get a flu shot or other flu vaccine
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF FLU?
- Stay home when you are sick
- Clean hands often
- Cover your cough or sneezes
VA Flu Factsheet
For more information on the Flu, Vaccines, and the CDC, please visit their website at