Flu Shots

CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot.

Flu shots are available at the Student Health Service by scheduling an appointment at mystudenthealth.miami.edu (for "Visit Reason" choose "Flu Shot"). The charge for your flu shot will be billed to your insurance company. Under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, preventive services should be covered 100%, no co-insurance or co-pay, regardless of whether you have met your deductible. You will not be billed for any balance.

Many people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. For more information on treatment of the flu, review these recommendations.

Anyone with chronic medical conditions, at high risk for complications of the flu, or with initially improving but subsequently worsening symptoms should seek care from the Student Health Service or other medical professionals.

More information about Seasonal Flu is available at www.cdc.gov/flu.

FLU and FLU Shot FAQ's

What is influenza (flu)?
Influenza, commonly called "the flu," is caused by the influenza virus, which infects the respiratory tract. The virus is typically spread from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes the virus into the air. Compared with other viral respiratory infections such as the common cold, influenza infection can cause severe illness and also precipitate serious and life-threatening complications. Typical clinical features include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue.

What can people do to protect themselves against the flu?
By far, the single most important preventative measure is to get vaccinated each fall.

Who should get a flu shot?
CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot.

Is the flu vaccine effective immediately after a person receives the shot?
It takes about 1 to 2 weeks after vaccination for antibody against influenza to develop and provide protection.

How well does the vaccine work?
The effectiveness of the flu vaccine in protecting individuals against illness or serious complications of the flu depends on primarily: 1) the age and health status of the person receiving the vaccine and 2) the similarity or "match" between the virus strains in the vaccine and those in circulation. When the "match" between the vaccine and circulating strains is close, the flu vaccine prevents illness in approximately 70%-80% of healthy persons younger than age 65 years.

When should I get vaccinated?
As soon as flu vaccine is available.

What are the side effects of the flu shot?
By far, the most common side effect of the flu vaccine is local arm soreness and swelling. This is usually mild and does not prevent most persons from working. Serious side effects are uncommon and include severe allergic reactions, particularly in people who have a severe allergy to eggs (the vaccine viruses are grown in eggs).

Why must the flu vaccine be given every year?
Influenza viruses are continually changing, which is why the viruses in the vaccine must be updated often. Vaccine for one year may not cover viruses circulating in the next season, and immunity developed one year may not last until through the following year's flu season.

How long is a person with the flu contagious?
This depends on the age of the person, but adults usually can shed influenza virus for up to 3-5 days after they first develop symptoms. Some children may shed the virus for longer than a week.

Take a dose of common sense....
During flu season, avoid people with the flu, and wash your hands often. Most viruses are spread by droplets in the air that come from infected people when they talk, sneeze, cough, or by hand to hand contact. Also, smoking while infected with the flu can cause serious complications. Get vaccinated, eat healthy, exercise, and avoid smoking in order to lower your chances of getting the flu.