Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
The most effective strategy for preventing seasonal influenza (flu) is annual immunization. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) now recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older get vaccinated annually for seasonal influenza (flu). This is especially important among high-risk groups, including pregnant women, older people, young children and newborns, and people with chronic illnesses.
The influenza vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children as well as postpartum and breastfeeding women and can be given during any trimester. Pregnant women are at increased risk for serious illness and death from the flu. Immunizing pregnant and postpartum women against seasonal influenza can protect the mother and may help her baby by preventing the spread of the flu from mother to child following delivery.
Certain people, including pregnant women, young children, adults 65 years of age and older, American Indians and Alaskan Natives and people with certain long-term health conditions, are at greater risk for serious illness or death from the flu. It is very important for individuals at high risk of developing flu related complications to receive the flu vaccine each year.