In addition to getting a COVID-19 vaccine, but be sure to also get your flu vaccination. Plan on getting your flu shot early to protect yourself against this serious respiratory illness.

Benton-Franklin Health District is not currently providing flu vaccinations.  Please visit your physician or pharmacist for flu or COVID-19 vaccination. 

What you need to know about the flu.

The flu is more than a bad cold. For several days, people can suffer with fever, cough, sore throat and body aches. Each year, influenza causes thousands of deaths and hospitalizations. People with long-term health conditions are especially at risk. The best way to prevent flu is to get a flu vaccine.

Good health practices help stop flu.

  • Wash your hands frequently or used hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.

Flu signs and symptoms

  • Fever over 100.4°F or feeling feverish/chills.
  • Cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headaches.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea (sometimes).

Flu treatment

You can treat the flu with medicine if you get to the doctor early. The medications work best when you begin treatment within 48 hours of flu onset. Treatment can ease symptoms and reduce the risk of complications and death.

Ask your doctor for treatment options for anyone who is two weeks old or older.


The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine. Everyone six months and older needs a flu vaccine each year. You can get a flu vaccine at your doctor's office or local pharmacy.

When to get vaccinated

You can get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available in the late summer or early fall. It is best to get vaccine before flu starts circulating. It is not too late to get a flu vaccine later in the season.

If a household member has the flu, medications are available to prevent you from getting sick.

The flu can make some people very sick.

Everyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot. It’s the best protection against the flu.

If any of the following apply to you—or someone you’re close to—it’s very important to get a flu shot every year.

At higher risk for flu complications

  • Children under 5—especially those under 2.
  • Adults over 64.
  • People staying in a long-term care facility.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native people.
  • Women who are pregnant or gave birth in the last 2 weeks.
  • People under 19 who take long-term aspirin or salicylate medication.
  • People with health conditions, like:
    • Chronic lung disease—like asthma, COPD or cystic fibrosis.
    • Heart disease—like congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease.
    • Neurologic or neurodevelopmental conditions—like stroke.
    • Endocrine disorders—like diabetes.
    • Weakened immune system due to disease (like HIV/AIDS or leukemia) or medications (like chemotherapy, radiation treatment or corticosteroids).
    • Blood disorders—like sickle cell disease.
    • Kidney or liver disorders.
    • Metabolic disorders.
    • Obesity.

More information


Children under 5—especially those under 2—are at higher risk for flu complications. Even healthy children are at higher risk, just because of their age.

The best way to protect children is to get them immunized as soon as they’re 6 months old. And for the people around them to get immunized, too.

Adults over 64

The flu is very serious for older people. As we age, our immune systems don’t work as well. This puts over 64 at higher risk for flu complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 70-85% of recent flu deaths were people over 65. A special high-dose flu vaccine is available for people over age 65. Ask your healthcare if it's right for you.

Pregnant women

Pregnancy makes women more likely to get very sick from the flu and end up in the hospital. When a pregnant woman gets the flu, it may endanger her baby, too.

When a pregnant woman gets a flu shot, it protects her and her baby. Babies can’t get a flu shot until they’re 6 months old. But when mom gets a flu shot while pregnant, she passes the protection on to her baby, too.

American Indian or Alaska Native people

American Indian or Alaska Native people are more likely to die from flu. American Indian or Alaska Native children who get the flu are more likely to end up in the hospital or die. Flu and pneumonia are among the top 10 causes of death for American Indian or Alaska Native people.


Even if your asthma is well controlled, you are still at higher risk for flu complications. The flu can lead to worsening asthma symptoms, pneumonia and other respiratory illness. People with asthma are more likely to become ill with pneumonia after getting the flu.


Diabetes makes you more likely to suffer flu complications, even if your diabetes is well controlled. The flu can also make your diabetes worse, because the flu can make it harder to control your blood sugar. If you get the flu, follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s sick day guidelines.

Heart disease and stroke

Flu is associated with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. One study found the risk of heart attack was 6 times higher within a week of being diagnosed with flu. Vaccination is associated with lower rates of cardiac events in people with heart disease.