Frequently Asked Questions for Flu Shots

The best way to prevent the flu is to get your annual flu shot. Don’t put off getting yours since it can take up to two weeks to build an immunity after you get it.

What is the flu?

Influenza (flu) is a viral respiratory infection of the nose, throat, and sometimes lungs. Symptoms can be mild to severe.

How effective is the flu shot?

The flu vaccine can reduce your risk of getting the flu by at least 40% – 60%. It’s not 100% effective because there are many different strains of the flu, and the vaccine will protect you from the 3 or 4 strains you’re most likely to be exposed to. But even if you get the flu after being vaccinated, your flu shot can help protect you from having more severe symptoms.

When should I get the flu shot?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, if you get vaccinated too early (in July or August), your flu shot may not be as effective later in the flu season, particularly if you’re an older adult.

Are there any side effects?

Yes. Common side effects from a flu shot include soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given, low-grade fever, headache, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue. Like other injections, getting the flu shot can occasionally cause fainting.

Can you get the flu from the flu shot?

No, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot. This is a common misconception. There is no live flu virus in the flu shot.

 thermometer with temperature of 103 degrees from the flu

What is the difference between influenza (flu) vs. COVID-19?

Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 and flu share many of the same symptoms, including:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

Only COVID-19:

  • Loss of taste or smell

Worried you may have Coronavirus?

Find out now with AHN’s Coronavirus Symptom Checker — then learn what your options are for getting care.

Can I get the flu shot if I’m pregnant?

The CDC recommends pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester of their pregnancy to help protect both mom and baby. It’s important to note that expectant mothers should get the flu shot vaccine, not the nasal spray flu vaccine.

Breastfeeding can help to protect infants from infections like flu, too.

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment to get your flu shot or learn more about the flu shot vaccine.