FAQs About the Flu
To reduce the risk of getting and spreading the flu virus, there are steps you can take before and during the flu season (October through May).
Like many germs, the flu virus can spread by direct and indirect contact and through the air. To reduce the risk of getting and spreading the flu, it is important for you and everyone around you to follow infection prevention and control practices like hand washing and getting vaccinated.back to top
In people with CF, the flu can lead to a severe lung infection, like pneumonia. If you have the flu, you may feel worse than you do with a typical lung infection or pulmonary exacerbation. Flu symptoms include:
Contact your CF care center or doctor’s office as soon as you feel flu-like symptoms. Antiviral medications used to treat people for the flu are most effective if taken within 24 hours of the start of symptoms. These drugs may help lessen your symptoms or how long you are ill. They do not, however, reduce your risk of getting the flu.
The following recommendations are intended to help people with CF reduce the risk of getting and spreading germs, like the flu.
Is the flu vaccine one shot or two?
Children ages 6 months through 8 years may need two shots of the flu vaccine annually to fully protect them against the flu. Experts generally recommend four weeks between the two shots. However, ask your doctor if your child needs one or two flu shots and how far apart they should be given.
Where can I get the flu shot?
People with CF can usually get their flu shot at a CF Foundation-accredited care center and through primary care providers. Talk with your CF care center to find out whether it has the vaccine available. You can also find the closest place to get a seasonal flu vaccine from the Flu Vaccine Finder.
Are there any side effects from the flu shot?
The flu shot does not give you the flu because the viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated). The risk of the flu shot causing serious harm is very small. However, like any vaccine, you could have mild side effects, which may include:
If these problems happen, they will begin shortly after the shot was given and usually last one to two days. However, if you are not feeling better or start to feel worse, call your doctor.
The flu vaccine spray (e.g., FluMist®) is sprayed into the nose and contains live but weakened flu viruses. The safety of the flu vaccine spray has not been established in people who have a lung disease like CF or asthma. The spray is only approved for people ages 2 to 49 years of age who do not have a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine.
People with the flu should try and 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.