Influenza (Flu) Vaccine Resources

A variety of illnesses are often called “the flu.” Unfortunately, this generalization often misrepresents the potential severity of the illness caused by influenza virus. Influenza infects the upper respiratory tract and can strike so suddenly that people remember the hour they began to feel ill.
Common symptoms of influenza may include:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Cough

Symptoms typically last for a few days, but can lead to complications, such as pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or heart disease. Sometimes, particularly in the elderly, bacterial infections occur shortly after the viral infection, so people feel like they are getting better and then get sick again. Like influenza infections, bacterial infections that follow influenza can be severe leading to hospitalization and death.

One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from influenza is through vaccination. It is best to be immunized before influenza spreads through your community because it takes about two weeks after vaccination to be protected. This year we will also be learning about whether or how COVID-19 and influenza infections complicate one another, which is another reason to protect yourself and your family from both of these respiratory illnesses.

Materials to read


Play video

Watch a segment about influenza and influenza vaccines from the award-winning documentary, HILLEMAN: A Perilous Quest to Save the World’s Children. The clip includes an animation that describes antigenic drift and shift.