Flu Vaccine

The seasonal flu virus (or influenza) is very contagious. At Mercy, we know the best protection comes from a yearly flu vaccination. Flu season typically runs from October to May with new strains of the virus developing each year. Mercy makes it easy to prevent the spread of seasonal flu because the flu vaccine is available at most Mercy primary care offices, pharmacies and urgent or convenient care centers.

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

Your Mercy primary care provider can review your individual health situation and recommend the best course of treatment to help you stay healthy throughout flu season.  

The traditional flu vaccine injection is given to:

  • Children and infants as young as 6 months old - learn more about pediatric flu shots 
  • Women who are pregnant - given during the first trimester to protect both mother and baby
  • Adults who are currently feeling healthy (without fever or weakened immune system)

Those with a history of severe allergy to chicken eggs, a severe reaction to a previous flu shot or a diagnosis of Guillain-Barre Syndrome within 6 weeks of receiving a flu vaccination should not take it. Talk to your Mercy primary care provider about other options available to you.

Flu Shot Effectiveness

It can take a week or two for the vaccine to become effective, so getting a flu shot early in fall offers maximum protection. The level of protection can vary from year to year based on how good a match the vaccine is to the current flu viruses going around. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends annual flu immunization as the best way to reduce the risk of getting and spreading the flu virus which reduces hospitalizations and flu related deaths.     

Mercy makes Flu Immunization easy with:

Find a Primary Care Provider

Search nearby for Mercy primary care providers offering flu vaccination.

Flu Vaccination FAQs

Check out our answers to common questions we receive about the Flu. Always consult with your Mercy primary care provider regarding your individual health circumstances.

Why are there typically more respiratory illnesses like flu in the winter?

In the winter, we are inside a lot more, giving us more opportunities to pass illnesses to one another. Also, cold air irritates the mucus membranes in the respiratory tract, which makes them more susceptible to invasion by viruses and other respiratory pathogens. This decreases the body’s natural defenses to fight infections. 

How is the flu different from a cold?

What sets the flu apart from a cold is a high fever, around 102 degrees, achiness and overall illness. Vomiting and diarrhea are not part of the seasonal flu.

Why is my child receiving two doses of the flu vaccine?

Children up to 8 years old require two doses of vaccine given about one month apart, but only the first season they are vaccinated. After that, they need only one dose per year.

What are the side-effects of the flu vaccine?

The most common side effects from the flu vaccine are low-grade fever, soreness at the injection site and possibly redness or swelling.

If our family got flu shots last flu season, do we need flu shots this year?

Yes. Getting a flu vaccine in previous years does not protect you from getting the flu in future years. Flu viruses change often and require a new vaccine.

The flu vaccine hasn’t protected me in the past; why should I still get one?

The level of prevention varies each year. If you still end up with the flu, the vaccine will help you by minimizing symptoms of the flu, leading to faster recovery. In addition to receiving a flu shot, remember to wash your hands often; sneeze and cough into your elbow; keep your stress level down; get plenty of sleep; make healthy food choices; exercise; and limit your exposure to people who are sick.

Is it too late to get a flu shot this flu season?

No, it’s not too late. You can get the flu anytime in the year, although we see more cases of the flu between October and as late as April or May. Since there are typically multiple peaks in the flu season, we recommend everyone get a flu shot, especially those at high risk, such as children and the elderly. 

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