Protect Yourself from the Flu

Flu (influenza) is a virus that can cause mild to severe respiratory (lung, throat and nose) illness, and at times can lead to death. It is contagious, meaning you catch it by being near someone who has it. The best way to prevent flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. 

Because COVID-19 and the flu virus will both be spreading during the Fall and Winter months, it’s even more important to get a flu shot this year. The flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19, but it will make you less likely to get the flu and make the flu less severe if you get it.

Did You Know:

  • During the 2019-2020 flu season, only about 1 in 9 adults in the City of Detroit got the flu vaccine.
  • In the U.S. in 2019, 34,000 people died and more than 500,000 people had to go to the hospital due to the flu.

Here is a message from Bishop Merritt about the importance of getting a flu shot


Here are some common reasons that people don’t get the flu shot and why those reasons shouldn’t stop you:

I never get the flu.

  • About 1 in 4 people who carry the flu virus have no symptoms. Even without symptoms, you could still pass the flu virus to your loved ones. 
  • If you haven’t had the flu yet, you may have just been lucky. The flu virus is changing all the time, so you could get it at any time. 
  • People who have had the flu would likely tell you getting a shot is much better than getting sick.

Every time I get the flu shot, I get the flu.

  • Because of the way the vaccine is made, you cannot get the flu from it. The virus in a flu shot is killed (inactivated), which means it cannot cause illness.
  • Some people have mild flu-like symptoms when they get the vaccine. This is caused by your body’s immune system response to the vaccine, which is what protects you from getting the flu.
  • The flu vaccine does not prevent 100% of flu illness, so it’s possible you may still get the flu. But, if you have had the flu shot, your symptoms will likely be milder than without it.
  • It takes about 2 weeks for the flu vaccine to fully protect you. If you are exposed to the virus during this time, or just before you get the shot, you may still get the flu.

I take care of myself and prefer using only natural products.

No one in my family gets the vaccine and it’s easier not to get it than to fight with them.

  • It can be hard when family members don’t agree, but it should not stop you from getting the vaccine. Getting it lowers the chance you will pass the virus on to your family, helping to protect them. You can be a good role model by getting the flu vaccine each year.

I got the flu shot last year.

  • The flu viruses that cause disease may change from year to year. Each year, flu vaccines are made to protect against the ones that are likely to be most common. 
  • The effect of the flu vaccine wears off over time. Getting a flu vaccine each year helps protect you, even if the most common viruses don’t change from one season to the next.
  • Adults and children (6 months and older) need to get a dose of flu vaccine each year. Children 6 months to 8 years old who have never had a flu vaccine or only had one dose in past years will need two doses. 

It’s past Thanksgiving – too late to get the flu shot?

  • The vaccine can still help protect you as long as flu viruses are spreading. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that healthcare providers should offer the vaccine as soon as it is ready in the Fall. The vaccine can still help protect you if you get it in December or even later. The flu often peaks in January or February, but it can occur as late as May, so it’s best to get the vaccine even if it seems “late.”

To find out more about cold and flu during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

To find out more about the 2020-2021 flu season and how to protect yourself, visit the CDC influenza page

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