What are flu symptoms?

Flu Shot Reminder on Calendar

Let’s play a little guessing game. What’s common, usually comes around the fall season, contagious, but can often be prevented through a vaccine? If you said the ‘flu’, you win! Flu symptoms often include:

  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle pains
  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever 
  • For children, diarrhea or vomiting may also be present. In some cases, complications may include pneumonia, bronchitis, and/or sinus and ear infections. 

Typically, the flu is transmitted through the air by coughs or sneezes. Some studies show that, on the average, the flu causes three to five million yearly cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 500,000 yearly deaths worldwide. To say the least, flu vaccines are highly recommended!

Kaiser Permanente Offers Members Free Flu Shots

Did you know that Kaiser Permanente members are eligible to receive annual flu shots free of cost? There is no cost for immunizations when on a Kaiser Permanente health insurance plan. To become a Kaiser Permanente member, you would just need to get quotes, choose a health insurance plan, and apply. 

When can I get Kaiser Permanente Flu Vaccines?

Typically, clinics for Kaiser Permanente flu vaccines are open two months out of each calendar year. In 2012, flu clinics began administering Kaiser Permanente flu shots on September 29 and will continue until November 16 at selected facilities. If you plan to get immunized, try to come in before experiencing flu symptoms.

Where can I find a Kaiser Permanente Flu Clinic?

Usually, local clinics and store pharmacies will make themselves available for flu shots. As a Kaiser Permanente member, you can visit a local Kaiser Permanente flu clinic to get immunized. Not every Kaiser Permanente will be administering these shots during the flu season, so it is best to call 1-800-KP-Flu-11 or visit Kaiser Permanente Flu Clinic for access to a Kaiser Permanente flu shot locator.

Why do I need a flu shot every year?

Getting a flu vaccine is recommended each year because:
  • Immunization protection lasts for a year only. 
  • The vaccine changes each year. Each year, the flu shot is designed for the specific flu virus that is expected for that particular year. 
  • Immunity decreases with age.
  • It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians (ACP), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).  

Flu Vaccines Based on Age or Special Needs

According to The Center for Disease and Control and Kaiser Permanente, a flu vaccine is generally recommended to the following:
  • Adults (18 & over) - 
  • Healthy adults have the option to receive a seasonal flu shot or seasonal flu spray. 
  • Pregnant women
  • It is safe for pregnant women to get a flu shot. Regarding this year’s flu season, it is highly recommended that pregnant women get this year’s flu vaccine. Flu nasal spray is not recommended while pregnant. 
  • Children (6 months to 17 years) 
  • It is strongly advised that children over 6 months get a seasonal flu vaccine. Parents may choose between a flu shot and a flu nasal spray for their child. Some children may need the vaccine in 2 doses or increments. Check with your child’s pediatrician for details. 
  • It is strongly recommended that people with chronic conditions get a season flu vaccine. However, it is not advisable that they use a flu nasal spray.  
Some people tend to have a higher likelihood of catching flu symptoms and experiencing severe complications. See below for high-risk individuals, for whom, receiving a flu vaccine are more strongly recommended:
  • Seniors age 65 and over
  • People with asthma or respiratory issues, diabetes, or heart conditions
  • Pregnant women
  • Children age 6 months to 4 years
  • Be sure to consult with your doctor if you have any concerns or have never received a flu vaccine.

When a Flu Vaccine is Not for You

Usually, a flu vaccine is not recommended for the people groups below, without first checking with their doctor:
  • Those who are allergic to chicken eggs.
  • Those with an adverse reaction to a flu vaccine.
  • Kids under 6 months old
  • Those who are ill.
  • Those with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
For a detailed list of who should and should not receive a flu vaccine, click Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s List of Who should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza.

Apart from getting a flu vaccine, it is recommended that you wash your hands often and cover your hands when coughing or sneezing. Using anti-bacterial soap is a natural way to kill any potential flu virus. Hopefully, you can enjoy the fall season without coming down with flu symptoms. For specific recommendations on what you can do to defend yourself against cold and flu viruses, speak with your primary care doctor today.