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Influenza and Adults

Influenza (the “flu”) is a contagious viral infection primarily of the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu is caused only by the influenza virus, but many people confuse illnesses caused by other viruses or bacteria, including severe colds (rhinovirus) or “the stomach flu” (norovirus and other viruses and bacteria) with influenza.

Why vaccinate adults against influenza?

  • Depending on the severity of circulating strains, the flu kills between 3,000 and 49,000 individuals in the US annually.
  • Influenza can cause serious complications in people with a variety of chronic illnesses, including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and immunosuppression.
  • In the US, as many as one in five individuals get influenza each year, and while the virus can be mild in some years, it can be very severe in others, causing debilitating illness and death even in previously healthy people.
  • Direct medical costs of a moderately severe seasonal influenza outbreak average more than $10 billion.

Which adults need influenza vaccine?

  • All adults need influenza vaccine every year.
  • You can get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available in your area or anytime during the influenza season.
  • Adults with certain health conditions including heart disease, asthma, diabetes, a liver or kidney disorder, or a weakened immune system are at especially high-risk for influenza and its complications. In most cases, they should also be vaccinated for pneumococcal disease.

Additional Resources

Freddie the Flu Detective

NFID public service announcement (:30 animated video) providing information on how to detect, prevent, and treat the flu

Are You That Guy?

NFID public service announcement (:30 animated video) developed to create awareness about influenza prevention

Radio PSA on Adult Immunization

NFID radio PSAs featuring real people telling their stories about the potentially devastating consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases and the importance of adult vaccination.