Here’s What You Need to Know About Getting a Flu Shot

Medically Reviewed by Dr Samantha Miller, MBChB

Photo Courtesy: Marko Geber/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Influenza, or the flu, is a respiratory tract infection caused by a number of influenza viruses. It’s especially prevalent during the autumn and winter months. The flu is very common, and most people have experienced it at least once in their lives. Influenza is also highly contagious and can quickly spread throughout workplaces, households, schools and public areas.

The flu spreads when people expel tiny droplets laden with viral particles from their noses and mouths while coughing, sneezing, talking and even breathing. These droplets also survive on surfaces. Those who are nearby when an infected person expels viral droplets may inhale those droplets and become infected themselves.

Most people who get the flu have a mild case of the illness that isn’t life-threatening and normally goes away on its own after a few days or a little longer. However, influenza viruses can cause serious infection and even death in vulnerable people.

To avoid contracting or spreading the flu, it’s important to maintain good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. If you’re feeling unwell it’s best to stay home and avoid contact with vulnerable individuals to reduce the risk of passing the illness to them. But the most effective way to protect against seasonal influenza is to get a flu shot each year. Here’s what you need to know about getting vaccinated against the flu.