Flu Season Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I get vaccinated?
- Flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Each year the season is different and the flu can affect people differently. We encourage everyone six months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. An annual vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu and spreading it to others.
How does it spread?
- The flu is contagious. You can spread it to others up to about six (6) feet away. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states most experts think flu viruses are spread by being in close contact with infected people. Most healthy adults can infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. To avoid spreading the flu to others, stay home if you are sick, wash your hands often with soap and water, and cough into your sleeve or elbow.
What are the symptoms?
- Symptoms, such as a fever, muscle or body aches, chills and a headache, usually come on suddenly. More information about flu symptoms.
- Flu and the common cold have similar symptoms, but are caused by different viruses. It can be difficult to tell the difference based on symptoms alone. Check out this CDC chart, and please visit your medical provider.
How long does it take my body to develop protection?
- It takes about two weeks after receiving the flu vaccine to develop the body’s protection to fight the illness.
When and where can I get it?
- Flu vaccines are offered at many locations, including:
- Doctor’s offices
- The Clinic at Public Health and Human Services: 1005 West Worley St.
- Visit us on Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and no appointment is needed.
- School-based flu clinics
- Thanks to generous support from MU Children’s Hospital and the David B. Lichtenstein Foundation, our public health nurses continue to conduct school-based flu clinics in participating elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Boone County this fall. These clinics typically begin in October. Parents with questions about their school’s participation should contact their school nurse.
What can I get?
- We offer flu shots for everyone age six months and older:
- The FluMist nasal spray vaccine will not be offered by PHHS for the 2018-2019 flu season. Parents who are uncertain about which is best for their children should talk it over with their medical provider.
- A high dose flu vaccine is available specifically for persons age 65 and older.
- Please contact your medical provider about receiving the vaccine if you have a severe egg allergy.
- If you have specific questions about our vaccine supply, please call 573.874.7356.
What does it cost?
- Children age six months through 18 years: FREE
- Thanks to the generous support from MU Children’s Hospital and the David B. Lichtenstein Foundation, we continue to provide free flu vaccine to all children six months through 18 years of age.
- Adults 19 and older: Depends on insurance coverage
- We accept cash, check, credit/debit cards and can bill many insurance plans through a system called VaxCare. Receipts can be provided upon request. The cost of the vaccine is $25 for self-pay individuals.
- View a list of the insurance providers accepted through the VaxCare billing system.
What do I need to bring with me?
- If you have an insurance plan, please bring your card. At the clinic, you will be required to complete a consent form and read the Vaccine Information Statement, which is also available in multiple languages below:
Why does my Medicare statement say I got my flu vaccine from VaxCare in Orlando, Florida?
- If your Medicare statement says you got the flu vaccine from “VaxCare” in Orlando, Florida, it’s legitimate. We contract with VaxCare to provide our vaccine, which means they actually bill Medicare for the vaccine, therefore it’s not a fraudulent claim. If you have questions, please call 874-7356.
Where can I learn more information?
- For up-to-date news and announcements about Boone County, view our flu season news, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
- For more information about flu, please visit the CDC.
Questions? Email us at health@CoMo.gov