Influenza / Flu


Learn More

  • Influenza (flu) is a dangerous respiratory infection that spreads easily to others.
  • Influenza can make even healthy people seriously ill. It can lead to health problems like pneumonia.
  • Influenza can make existing health conditions, like heart disease, asthma and diabetes, even worse.
  • Every year thousands of New Yorkers die after getting influenza. More than 100 U.S. children died from influenza during the 2016-17 influenza season.*

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (as of July 2017)




Sore throat


Body aches


Prevent and Protect

  • The flu vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect yourself and others.
  • The vaccine is updated every year to protect you against new viruses.
  • Everyone aged 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every year. Children under 6 months are too young for the vaccine; their caregivers should make sure to get vaccinated.
  • Get your flu vaccine as soon as possible. But even if you get your vaccine later, it is better than not getting vaccinated.


Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Don’t use your hands.

Wash your hands with soap.

Get a Free or Low-Cost Flu Vaccine

  • Ask your health care provider about the flu vaccine. Most insurance plans, including Medicaid, pay for the vaccine.
  • Visit your nearest pharmacy—many offer vaccines to adults.
  • Check if your workplace offers the vaccine.
  • Visit the Health Department’s immunization clinic or a City-run clinic or hospital. These locations give free or low-cost flu vaccines to all patients and visitors.

Search for vaccination locations by neighborhood or zip code by calling 311, visiting or texing flu to 877877.

If you do get sick with influenza:

Don’t risk spreading the flu to others. Stay home and avoid close contact with others until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without help from over-the-counter medicine.

Ask your health care provider about antivirals, medicines that can treat influenza. They can help you recover faster and prevent more serious illness.

People at highest risk for flu complications

  • Pregnant women
  • Children younger than 5 years (especially those under 2)
  • Adults 65 years and older
  • People with certain health conditions, including:
    • Diabetes
    • Lung or heart disease
    • Asthma
    • Sickle cell anemia
    • Kidney or liver disease
    • Metabolic disorders
    • Weakened immune system (such as from HIV or cancer treatment)
    • Disorders that may cause breathing problems, such as seizures, and nerve and muscle disorders
    • People who are very overweight
    • Children and teens (aged 6 months to 18 years) who receive long-term aspirin therapy
  • People living in nursing homes or other care facilities
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives
It is very important to get the vaccine if you are a health care worker or care for someone in one of the risk groups above.