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Flu

Influenza (Flu) can be unpleasant for anyone, but it can also be deadly. Get the latest on flu cases in Pima County from the Arizona Department of Health Services.


Learn how to protect yourself and those you care about against the flu!

Get Your Flu Shot Today!

Most insurance companies provide a flu shot at no cost to you.

Most retail pharmacies and clinics have the flu shot. You can also contact your doctor or a community health center. Call ahead to make sure the location accepts your insurance.

Most people can also be vaccinated at our East, Theresa Lee, and North Office clinics.

Community Health Department Vaccine Events

2021 - 2022 flu season events TBA

Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine? Everybody.

Everyone older than 6 months should get a flu shot every year.

People over the age of 65, women who will be pregnant during flu season, and those with pre-existing conditions are at higher risk and should really get a flu shot. There are some, like those with a deadly egg allergy or a few health conditions, who are not able to get a flu shot, so it's important that those who can, do. Talk to your doctor or the Health Department if you have questions. 

When should I get a flu shot? Now.

According to the CDC, the best time to get a flu shot is before the flu starts spreading in your community, usually before the end of October. Antibodies to fight flu take about two weeks after immunization to develop.


Everyday steps to stay healthy:

There are steps anyone can take to prevent or lessen the impact of Influenza.
  • Wash hands often and thoroughly 
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or shirt sleeve, or use a tissue, throw it away and then wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Flu viruses can spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, by touching something with flu viruses on it, and, in some cases through, the air

Steps to take if you or someone in your family gets the flu:

  • STAY HOME – if you're sick, stay home 
  • CALL FIRST – call your medical practitioner or clinic and tell them you may have the flu BEFORE you leave the house
  • MAKE A PLAN – consider actions to take care of you and your family:
    • What you and your family are going to do if the babysitter/childcare is ill
    • If your child becomes ill
    • If you have to stay home to take care of someone who is ill
Flu can cause mild to severe illness, including: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, and chills. 

Health Department clinics do not provide primary care. If you're ill, call your primary care provider (family doctor) before going to the office and discuss what your symptoms are so the staff there can respond appropriately.

Flu FAQs

What viruses will the 2021-2022 flu vaccines protect against?

There are many different flu viruses, and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu shots is reviewed every year and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. This season, all flu vaccines will be designed to protect against the four viruses that research indicates will be most common. Each year, the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) makes the recommendation for the flu vaccine composition for US flu vaccines.

For 2021-2022, recommendations were made for egg-based, cell-based, and recombinant flu vaccines as listed below:

Egg-based vaccine composition recommendations:
  • an A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • an A/Cambodia/e0826360/2020 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Washington/02/2019-like virus (B/Victoria lineage)
  • a B/Phuket/3073-2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage)
Cell- or recombinant-based vaccine composition recommendations:
  • an A/Wisconsin/588/209 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • an A/Cambodia/e0826360/2020 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Washington/02/2019-like virus (B/Victoria lineage)
  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage)

I don't have a doctor. Where can I get my flu shot?

You can find a flu shot at many places, including retail pharmacies and Pima County Health Department clinics.

There isn't much flu in my area. Should I wait to get a flu shot?

No. You should not wait for flu activity to be rising or high before getting your flu shot. September and October are generally ideal times to get your flu shot. It takes about two weeks after your flu shot for your body to have the antibodies it will need if you are exposed to flu.

Will the flu shot protect me against COVID-19? Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect me against the flu?

No. Flu vaccines are not designed to protect against COVID-19. Flu shots reduce the risk of getting sick, going to the hospital, and dying due to flu.
COVID-19 vaccines are not designed to work against flu. The virus that causes flu is different than the one that causes COVID-19, therefore, the vaccines for each illness are different. Both are very effective against the virus they are designed for.

What is the difference between flu and COVID-19?

Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and seasonal flu (most often just called “flu”) is caused by infection with one of many influenza viruses that spread annually among people.

 

Because some symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, people may need to be tested to tell what virus is causing their illness. People can be infected with both a flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 at the same time.

In general, COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. Compared with people who have flu infections, people who have COVID-19 can take longer to show symptoms and be contagious for longer. 

Will there be flu along with COVID-19 this fall and winter?

While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading at that time. Relaxed COVID-19 mitigation measures (such as stay-at-home orders, or mask mandates) may result in an increase in flu activity during the upcoming 2021–2022 flu season.

Common respiratory viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human coronaviruses (not SARS-CoV-2) did not spread as much as usual during the 2020-2021 flu season as in past seasons. This information is summarized in a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Changes in Influenza and Other Respiratory Virus Activity During the Pandemic.

Can I get my flu shot the same day as my COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. If a patient is eligible, they can get both a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same visit, as recommended by CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP). If a patient is due for both vaccines, providers are encouraged to offer both vaccines at the same visit.

Can I get sick with flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

Yes. It is possible to have flu and other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this is. Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19.

If I get sick with flu, am I at higher risk of contracting COVID-19?

Because COVID-19 is still a relatively new illness, we have little information about how flu illness might affect a person’s risk of getting COVID-19. We do know that people can be infected with flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 at the same time. Getting a flu vaccine is the best protection against flu and its potentially serious complications, and getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection against COVID-19.

Flu symptoms are very similar to COVID-19 symptoms. How do I know which virus I have?

Your doctor can order laboratory tests to confirm whether you have COVID-19, flu, or some other illness. No matter the cause, if you feel sick, stay home and rest.

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Tucson, AZ 85714

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