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Center for Disabilities Studies
University of Delaware
461 Wyoming Road
Newark DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-6974
TDD: 302-831-4689


How is the flu spread?
Are you at high risk for developing the flu?
About the Vaccine
Where can I go to get vaccinated?
What to do if you get sick?
Online Resources

How is the flu spread?

Flu spreads from person to person primarily by coughing and sneezing. Adults can spread the flu before symptoms appear and up to a week after becoming ill. Children are contagious in most cases longer than a week.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

People with the flu may experience mild to severe illness. Some signs and symptoms include: fevers and chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches, malaise, muscle/body aches and upset stomach. A fever is not always present in someone with the flu. Feeling sick and not sure if you have the flu? Try the self-evaluation tool at

Some people may recover from the flu within several days and typically in less than two weeks. Some, however, may develop complications such as pneumonia, respiratory and ear infections. Each year in the U.S., an average of 36,000 people die, and more than 200,000 are hospitalized from serious flu-related complications.

Get the facts about preventing and treating seasonal flu

Are you at high risk for developing the flu?

Some people are more likely to get flu complications. If you are a high risk individual, you should talk to a health care provider about whether you need to be examined if you get flu symptoms this season.

The CDC has identified high risk individuals to be:

• Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old.
• People 65 and older.
• Pregnant women.
• People who have chronic or underlying medical conditions, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Blood disorders (including sickle cell disease)
  • Chronic lung disease; asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Endocrine disorders (diabetes mellitus)
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Neurological disorders (including nervous system, brain or spinal cord)
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Weakened immune systems (including people with HIV, AIDS, cancer or those on chronic steroids)
  • Individuals less than 19 years of age on long-term aspirin treatment
  • Morbidly obese individuals (Body Mass Index, or BMI, of 40 or greater)

Disability groups at risk of getting flu and/or having unrecognized flu symptoms include:

  • People who have limited mobility
  • People who cannot limit coming into contact with others who are infected
  • People who have trouble understanding/practicing preventive measures
  • People who may not be able to communicate symptoms of illness
  • People who may not be monitored closely for symptoms of illness

Find out more about high risk individuals

About the Vaccine

What are the two types of vaccines?

There are two different types of flu vaccines; the flu shot and nasal-spray flu vaccine (FluMist). The flu shot is an inactivated form, meaning it contains the killed influenza virus. It is given in the arm and approved for individuals older than 6 months of age. The nasal-spray vaccine contains a live, but weakened form of the virus. It is approved for healthy, non-pregnant individuals ranging from age 2 to 49.

What does the vaccine protect against?

The upcoming season’s flu vaccine will protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one or two influenza B viruses, depending on the flu vaccine.  Antibodies, which are produced by an individual’s immune system start developing 2 weeks following vaccination and will protect against infection caused by influenza virus.

Is the vaccine for everyone and every age group?

According to the CDC, individuals who should not be vaccinated without talking to their health care provider include:

• People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
• People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
• People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine.
• Children less than 6 months of age (vaccine not approved for this age category).
• People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated.)

Are there any side effects associated with the vaccine?

With the flu vaccines there are some side effects to be aware of. With the flu shot, an individual cannot get the flu but may    experience soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site, low-grade fever and achiness. These side effects typically last a couple of days. FluMist, the nasal spray form, is made with a weakened form of the virus and do not cause severe symptoms but child could experience; runny nose, wheezing, headache, fever, muscle aches and vomiting. An adult would be likely to experience similar side effects including sore throat or cough. Flu vaccinations usually begin in September and continue through the fall and early winter-the flu tends to peak in January.

Where can I go to get vaccinated?

Find a location that provides flu shots near you: Available Locations

Delaware Public Health Seasonal Flu Clinics: 2014-15 Schedule

What to do if you get sick?

Stay home: If you get sick with flu-like symptoms this flu season, you should stay home. Avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for urgent reasons and when a support person is not available (your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol®). You should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events and public gatherings.

Antiviral drugs: Talk to your doctor about getting antiviral medications. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that can be used for prevention or treatment of the flu virus. Download additional material on antiviral drugs

Face masks and respirators: If you must have close contact with a sick person (for example, caring for a sick infant); try to wear a face mask or N95 disposable respirator.  More information regarding face masks and respirators

Caring for someone sick at home can be a stressful and time consuming task. Learn more on how to care for someone with the flu: Information for caregivers

Online Resources

• Flu Essentials: What you need to know (includes fact sheets in English and Spanish)

• The best sources for general Information are: or 1.800.CDC.INFO

• In Delaware the Division of Public Health is coordinating flu information:

• Other Delaware-specific information, including free materials, is available at

• Delaware’s Division on Public Health (DPH) has opened a call line to take public questions concerning influenza. Delawareans can call 1-866-408-1899 to speak to DPH staff weekdays from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. during the influenza season.