Seasonal Flu Information
Flu season is around the corner – as part of your overall preventive health plan, it’s important to get vaccinated, and take precautions to stay healthy.
If you are a registered patient at Callen-Lorde and need to be vaccinated, call us at (212) 271-7200 to make an appointment. If you are not a patient, call your primary care provider or click here to search for an immunization site. Click on “advanced search,” to narrow results by location or vaccine cost (scroll to the bottom for free/low fee options). If the location is a pharmacy, please call and check on vaccine availability before going the location.
Influenza is a viral infection of the nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs. There are two main types of virus: influenza A and influenza B. Each type includes many different strains, which tend to change each year.
When does influenza occur?
Influenza is most common during the fall and winter months. Flu activity often increases during the late fall and early winter in the United States, but peak levels generally occur between late December and early March. Illnesses resembling influenza may occur during the summer months but they are usually due to other viruses.
Who gets influenza?
Anyone can get influenza, but it is most serious in the elderly, in young children, in people with chronic underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or a weakened immune system.
How is influenza spread?
Influenza is highly contagious and is easily transmitted through contact with droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person during coughing and sneezing.
What are the symptoms of influenza?
Typical symptoms include fever, chills, aches, cough and sore throat. Intestinal symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea, are possible but uncommon. Although most people are ill for only a few days, influenza sometimes leads to more serious illness, such as pneumonia. Influenza-related illness, including pneumonia, causes approximately 36,000 deaths in the United States each year. Here in New York City, influenza causes an estimated 1,100 deaths, and respiratory infections cause more than 2,000.
How soon after infection do symptoms appear?
Influenza generally occurs within 1 to 4 days after exposure.
Go to the hospital or call 911 right away if you have trouble breathing or experience any of these other severe symptoms:
- Pain or pressure in the chest or stomach
- Dizziness or confusion
- Increasing fever or vomiting that won’t stop
- Can’t eat or drink
- Extreme irritability (in a child)
How can I help prevent the spread of influenza?
- Get vaccinated.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue afterward.
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, using the bend in your arm to cover your nose and mouth.
- Clean your hands after you cough or sneeze, using soap and warm water, or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- If you get the flu, avoid exposing others. Stay home from work or school.
COVID-19 and the season flu
We strongly encourage all our patients get the new 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine to stay healthy and help protect others. Please visit vaccines.gov to find somewhere you can get the vaccine since Callen-Lorde doesn’t have it yet. Sites listed as “Bridge Access Programs” are offering free vaccines for people without insurance. It is safe to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccine at the same time.