Flu Season is Coming: Get your annual flu vaccine now!
Getting the flu vaccine improves your chance of staying healthy this year. Everyone age 6 months and older should get their yearly flu vaccine this fall. The flu vaccine protects everyone’s health — it prevents individuals from getting sick, limits the spread of flu from person to person, and reduces the chance of hospitalization.
The flu season generally starts in November and lasts through April. Flu vaccines are widely available at doctors’ offices, clinics, and pharmacies. To find a flu vaccine at a location near you, visit the Vaccine Finder or check the list of San Francisco Department of Public Health locations offering free or low-cost flu vaccinations for the public.
For more information on influenza including information for providers, visit our influenza home page.
Influenza (flu) attacks the lungs, nose, and throat. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches, and fatigue. Young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with chronic disease or weak immune systems are at higher risk of having a severe case of flu that needs hospitalization.
In addition to getting the flu shot, help protect yourself and your loved ones by:
- coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow or arm
- washing your hands regularly with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- staying at home if you are sick
Measles: Are your vaccines up to date?
Measles is a very contagious viral disease that is widespread in many parts of the world. Travelers can bring measles into the United States from any country where measles outbreaks are occurring. Measles cases are increasing internationally, in the United States, and there have been several cases in the Bay Area recently. Read the San Francisco Department of Public Health press releases about measles.
Fortunately, measles vaccine is highly effective at preventing the disease and has been routinely recommended in the United States for many years. 97 percent of people who receive two doses of measles vaccine develop lifelong immunity to measles. People who have not been vaccinated are highly likely to get measles if they are exposed.
Typically, children in the United States get their first dose of measles vaccine beginning at 12 months of age followed by a second dose between ages 4 and 6 years. Make sure that you and your family are up to date on measles vaccine, especially before international travel. Infants aged 6-11 months should receive one early dose of measles vaccine (called MMR) before international travel.
Measles is spread through the air from person to person. Measles can be transmitted when someone with measles coughs or sneezes, and other people breathing the air containing the measles virus can then get measles. Measles begins with a fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, followed by a rash. The rash typically appears first on the face, along the hairline, and behind the ears and then affects the rest of the body. For more information about measles, visit our Measles Information page. The California Department of Public Health Measles Information page has additional information of interest. You can also read about measles cases and outbreaks in the US by visiting the CDC Measles Outbreak page.
Preteens Need Vaccines
Did you know that there are several recommended vaccines that most preteens should receive? By making sure people in this age group are up to date on important immunizations, parents and providers can protect children from dangerous diseases. Vaccines needed at the preteen doctor visit include:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Pertussis (Tdap)
- Influenza (depending on the time of year)
The best place to be vaccinated is at your doctor’s office. If you do not have a medical provider, find out where you can go for drop-in vaccination services in San Francisco.
Please note that as of July 2019, one dose of Tdap and two doses of chickenpox vaccine are required for entry into 7th grade. Also, incoming 7th graders who had personal beliefs exemptions in elementary school or are new admissions need to meet all K-12 immunization admissions requirements as well. Visit our School Immunization Webpage for more details about school immunization requirements.