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Seasonal Flu FAQs

What You Should Know about Seasonal Flu and CF

Flu Vaccine Finder
Click on the Vaccine Finder for local information to get a flu vaccine.

Seasonal flu may cause a worsening of chronic health conditions, like cystic fibrosis. Therefore, the information below is important to people with CF.

Every year, people get influenza (the flu) in the fall and winter. That is why it is called “seasonal” flu. The flu shot this year will help protect against different strains of influenza, including the H1N1 flu strain. The best way to prevent the flu, including H1N1 flu, is to get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people ages 6 months and older get the flu vaccine or "flu shot."

Based on the CDC’s recommendations, the Foundation urges everyone with CF and those who live in the same household to:

  • Get the seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible.

  • Follow your local care center’s or doctor's recommendations on getting vaccinated for seasonal flu.
  1. Flu shots are important to help avoid the flu
  2. Children ages 6 months through 8 years may need to get 2 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine.

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding seasonal flu and vaccinations.


What is the best way to protect against the flu?

The best way to protect against the flu is by doing things to reduce the risk of getting the flue. This also is called "doing good infection prevention and control."

You can do this by:

  • Getting the flu vaccine every year.
  • Cleaning your hands often with soap and water or using a 60 percent alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, throwing the tissue away and then cleaning your hands.
  • Limiting how much you touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Staying away from others if you are ill. This helps prevent the spread of germs.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are ill.

To learn more about how germs spread, watch the CDC video “Put Your Hands Together.”

The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers to be cautious about products that claim to prevent, treat or cure influenza, specifically products like pills, air filtration devices and cleaning agents that claim to kill or eliminate the flu virus.

The National Institutes of Health provides information on specific alternative options, including scientific information, potential side effects and cautions for each approach at http://nccam.nih.gov.

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What are the symptoms of the flu?

The symptoms of the flu are:

  • Body aches and headache
  • Fatigue (being tired)
  • Fever and chills
  • Increased cough
  • Sore throat

If you or your child has these symptoms, call your doctor or get medical attention right away.

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What should I do if I think I or my child has the flu?

If you or your child may have the flu, call your doctor. If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from spreading germs.

If children have the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting

If adults have the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

If you have the flu, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug like Tamiflu®.

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Do I or my child need to get a seasonal flu vaccine?

Everyone ages 6 months and older should get the seasonal flu vaccine, which protects against different flu viruses like H1N1.

The flu vaccine is an important step in protecting against getting the flu.

You can learn more about influenza vaccine from the CDC.

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Is the flu vaccine one shot or two?

Children ages 6 months through 8 years may need two shots of the flu vaccine to protect them fully against the flu. Experts recommend four weeks between the two shots. However, ask your doctor if your child needs one or two flu vaccines and how far apart they should be given.

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Can a person with CF get the flu nasal spray vaccine?

A person with CF should not get the nasal spray flu vaccine. The nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use only in healthy people ages 2 to 49 years who are not pregnant. People with a medical condition that places them at high risk for complications from influenza should not get the nasal spray. This includes people with CF.

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Where can I get the flu vaccine?

Seasonal flu vaccinations for people with CF are generally available at CF care centers and through primary care providers. Talk with your CF care center to find out whether they have the vaccine available.

You can find the closest place to get a seasonal flu vaccine from the American Lung Association’s Flu Clinic Locator.

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Should those who live with people with CF get the flu vaccine?

Members of the same household as people with CF should get the flu vaccinations.

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Can I or my child go to work or school, day care or camp if sick?

If you or your child is sick, you should stay home to rest and get better. Also, staying home helps prevent the spread of germs to others.

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When can I or my child go back to work or school after having the flu?

You or your child should stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. (The fever should be gone without using a fever-reducing medicine, like acetaminophen or Tylenol®.) A fever is defined as 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius or higher. Children should not take aspirin if they have the flu or any viral infection.

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What should I do if someone at my child’s school has the flu?

The best way to protect against the flu is by doing good infection control. You and your child can do this by:

  • Getting the flu vaccine.
  • Cleaning your hands often with soap and water or using a 60 percent alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, throwing the tissue away and then cleaning your hands.
  • Limiting how much you touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Staying away from others if you are ill. This helps prevent the spread of germs.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are ill.

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Is it safe for me to travel?

We encourage you to talk with your doctor about your or your child’s travel plans if you have concerns.

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Additional resources about germs and infection control

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Additional resources about seasonal flu

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updated 9/18/13

 

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.