Updated 09/09/2020                                                                                                    Download Flu FAQs 

Seasonal Flu: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What can I do to protect myself and my family against the flu?

    By far, the single most important preventive measure is to get vaccinated each fall.

  • When should I get a flu vaccination?

    The CDC recommends that people get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available in their community. Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September and continue throughout the flu season, which can last as late as May.

  • How long does it take for the flu vaccine to become effective?

    It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. In the meantime, you are still at risk for getting the flu. That’s why it’s better to get vaccinated early in the fall, before the flu season really gets under way.

  • What are similarities between flu, and COVID-19?

    Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

    • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue (tiredness)
    • Sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Muscle pain or body aches
    • Headache
    • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea

    Signs and symptoms of COVID-19, different from flu, may include change in or loss of taste or smell.

    Click here to read more.

  • How can I tell if I have a cold, flu, allergies, or COVID-19?

    A stuffy nose, sore throat, and a cough are all common symptoms. While there are subtle ways to help you distinguish between cold, flu, and allergies, COVID-19 is less predictable. No matter what may be slowing you down, we recommend extra caution this season. Stay home if you are not feeling well to avoid spreading any virus you may be carrying. Book an in-clinic or telemedicine visit if your symptoms worsen, if you want a flu or COVID-19 test, or if you have other health concerns.

    Click here to read more.

  • If I get the flu vaccine early in the season, will I still be protected late in the season?

    The flu vaccine provides protection for the entire season against the influenza strains contained in the vaccine. Studies do not show that it is beneficial to receive more than one dose of vaccine during a flu season.

  • Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?

    Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and the flu can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.

  • Why do I need to get vaccinated against the flu every year?

    Flu viruses change from year to year, which means two things. First, you can get the flu more than once during your lifetime. Second, a vaccine made against flu viruses circulating last year may not protect against the newer viruses. That is why the influenza vaccine is updated to include current viruses every year. Another reason to get the flu vaccine every year is that after you get vaccinated, your immunity declines over time and may be too low to provide protection after a year.

  • How do flu vaccines work?

    Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies provide protection against the viruses that are in the vaccine.

  • Who should get vaccinated?

    Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended universal flu vaccination to expand protection against the flu to more people.

    While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it’s especially important that the following groups get vaccinated 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:

    • Children younger than 5, especially younger than 2 years old
    • Adults 65 years of age and older
    • Pregnant women and women up to two weeks post-partum
    • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
    • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
    • People living with or caring for those at high risk for complications from flu
  • What flu viruses are included in the 2020–2021 flu vaccine?

    • Quadrivalent vaccine (QIV): protects against 4 viruses including two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and two influenza B viruses.
  • What types of flu vaccines are available at ARC?

    Flu Vaccines Offered

    ARC offers seasonal flu shots that protect against four influenza viruses that research suggests may be most common during the upcoming season. These are called Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccines (QIV). ARC offers the standard-dose shot, a preservative –free shot, FluMist, and a recombinant shot, Flublok, that replaces High Dose Fluzone this year.

    • Fluzone regular flu shot (QIV*): Approved for people ages 6 months and older
    • Preservative-free flu shot (QIV*): Approved for pregnant women and ages 6 months and older
    • FluMist® (QIV*): Offered for children who wouldn’t otherwise receive an influenza vaccine
    • Flublok (QIV*): Approved for high risk individuals; including ages 18 years and older with risk of complications, all 50 years and older including 65 years and older
  • How do Flublok and High Dose Fluzone compare for patients 65+?

    This season, 2020-2021 ARC offers the recombinant flu vaccine Flublok (QIV) instead of the High Dose Fluzone for our patients 65+. Both vaccines are made by Sanofi Pasteur and in efficacy tests comparing both to the standard dose (QIV) flu shot, Flublok (QIV) performed slightly better.

    • Flublok (QIV) provided 30% better protection from influenza
    • High Dose Fluzone (QIV) provided 24% better protection from influenza

    Besides higher efficacy, ARC preferred Flublok this year because:

    • It is available to people in more age categories than is High Dose Fluzone -- all patients 50+, and all patients 65+
    • It does not contain antibiotics, eggs, thimerosal, preservatives, gelatin, or latex -- due to the unique manufacturing process of recombinant vaccines

    Click here to read more about how flu vaccines are made.

  • Why is FluMist available again this year?

    FluMist was taken off the market in previous years when it was shown to be ineffective. The manufacturer has since changed the vaccine to be more effective. This year the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limited use of the FluMist; only children who would not otherwise receive the flu vaccine should receive it. However it is an option for healthy adults under the age of 50 as well.