Getting a flu vaccination is the best way to help protect yourself, and everyone around you, from getting the most common types of the flu virus. It reduces your risk of getting the flu by about 50 percent.
What it is
The flu vaccine work by stimulating your immune system to develop antibodies against the viruses included in the vaccine. The vaccine can:
- prevent you from getting the flu
- make the flu less severe if you do get it
- keep you from spreading the flu to others
The flu vaccine is updated annually to protect you from the virus strains expected this flu season, which may change from flu season to flu season. Because the common flu strains may change, it is important to be vaccinated each year in order to be protected from the current flu strains.
What to expect
You can get a flu vaccination at most Allina Health clinics any time throughout the influenza season, which typically lasts from October through May. We offer an injectable influenza vaccine for those six months of age and older, a nasal influenza vaccine for those ages two - 49 years of age, an egg free influenza vaccine for those 18 years of age and older and a senior influenza vaccine for those 65 years of age and older.
You can get a flu shot as part of an appointment with your provider, or you can come to a clinic for a shot-only appointment.
After receiving the shot, your body needs two weeks to develop antibodies against the viruses. This means you can become sick with the flu before protection from the vaccine starts.
Good to know
Anyone can get the flu. Even if you are healthy, it’s important that you get a flu vaccine each year to protect yourself and your family. All people, six months and older, should get an annual influenza vaccination. The flu shot is especially important, if you are:
- 65 years or older
- living with or caring for others who are high risk for developing serious complications, like pneumonia
- managing asthma, diabetes or chronic lung disease
You should consult with your provider before getting a flu shot if you have had a bad flu shot reaction, are currently ill (with or without a fever) or have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome.
All flu vaccinations given by Allina Health are pre-filled, latex free and contain no preservatives.
The flu vaccine will not protect you against the swine flu.
Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Minnesota Department of Health, United Stated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Reviewed by: Keith Olson, DO, regional medical director
First published: 12/7/2016
Last reviewed: 9/10/2003