For a list of commonly asked questions about the flu and the flu vaccine, please see below.

Q. When should I stay home from work or keep my child home from school?

A.  It is important to stay home when you are most contagious. For colds, you are contagious the entire time you have symptoms, but you are most contagious right after you contract the viral infection, before you even have symptoms. For the flu, adults are most infectious from the day before symptoms start until about the fifth day of symptoms.

Q:  How do I know when I should take myself or my child to the doctor to see if I have the flu or just a cold?

A:  If you or your child is at high risk of flu-related complications because of heart disease or CHD, it’s best to play it safe and call your doctor if you have flu symptoms.  Flu symptoms could lead to pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and, rarely, hospitalization. It can also worsen chronic health problems such as congestive heart failure.

Q:  Will getting the flu shot give me the flu?

A: No.  Some people may have a mild reaction to the flu, including achiness, low-grade fever and headache, but these should go away after a day or two.  The vaccine does not give you the flu.  Vaccines are made with either an inactivated virus or from a single gene (rather than the full virus).  Neither are contagious.

Q: How is the flu spread?

A:  The flu is spread mainly by droplets made in the air when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. A person might also get flu by touching an object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Q: Does getting vaccinated against the flu early in the season mean that the vaccination will become less effective towards the end of the flu season?  

A:  No. Seasonal flu vaccination provides protection throughout one season.  Vaccination can begin as soon as vaccine is available.