How is influenza prevented?

Updated: Aug 07, 2020
  • Author: Hien H Nguyen, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Prevention of influenza is the most effective strategy. Each year in the United States, a vaccine that contains antigens from the strains most likely to cause infection during the winter flu season is produced. The vaccine provides reasonable protection against immunized strains, becoming effective 10-14 days after administration. Antiviral agents are also available that can prevent some cases of influenza; when given after the development of influenza, they can reduce the duration and severity of illness. (See Treatment.)

For information on influenza in children, see Pediatric Influenza. For patient education information, see Colds, Flu in Adults, and Flu in Children.

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