SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges
Californians to get influenza (flu) vaccine to protect your health
during the upcoming flu season.
In California, flu usually begins to increase in late November or
December. It takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for the body to
build immunity, so now is the time to get vaccinated to have the best
protection now the flu season has started.
“Getting vaccinated is the best line of defense against flu,” said Dr.
Karen Smith, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “You can
prevent missing work or school, visits to the doctor or hospitalization,
and protect others from coming down with the flu.”
A person with the flu may be contagious and infect others before they even
feel sick.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during
the 2016-2017 season, flu immunization prevented an estimated 5.3 million
illnesses, 2.6 million medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated
hospitalizations in the United States.
Flu vaccines are administered as a shot or nasal spray. For the 2018-19
flu season, the CDC recommends vaccination with no preference for any one
vaccine over another.
CDPH recommends the annual flu vaccination for everyone six months of age
and older. While anyone can get flu, pregnant women, children under five,
adults 65 years of age and older, and people with chronic conditions such
as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and asthma are particularly at
complications. Flu vaccinations are needed every year to maintain the
greatest protection because the vaccine changes each year to match
circulating viruses and annual vaccination boosts immunity.
For pregnant women, flu complications can include premature birth, low
birth weight, and stillbirth of the baby. Besides helping prevent flu
complications, flu vaccine given during pregnancy also helps protect
babies from flu infection for several months after birth, before the baby
can be immunized, which is a time that babies are at high risk for flu
Common symptoms of the flu include fever or feeling feverish, a cough
and/or sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, chills, fatigue and body
aches. Children may also have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
To stop the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses, you should also:
*        Stay home while sick and limit contact with others.
*        Cover coughs or sneezes with your sleeve or disposable tissue.
*        Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water,
or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
*        Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
CDPH encourages Californians to contact their health care provider,
physician’s office or clinic about getting the flu vaccine. When flu
vaccine is in stock, adults with Medi-Cal can also get immunized at the
pharmacy where they generally pick up their prescriptions. Some local
health departments may also offer low- or no-cost flu immunizations.
For more information about the flu, visit CDPH’s
For the flu vaccine location nearest you, visit