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What is the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

While flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, they’re caused by different viruses. Flu spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezing, and even talking, like COVID-19 and its variants. You may infect others before you even know you’re sick. Flu can be severe and even lead to death. It usually comes on suddenly. Signs include fever, chills, a cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. Vomiting and diarrhea are more likely in children than adults.  For more on COVID-19 visit

How can I prevent getting the flu?

In addition to getting vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these 5 tips to avoid the flu (and COVID-19):

  1. Keep it clean: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer to reduce germs. Disinfect high-traffic areas at home and at work, like doorknobs and keyboards.
  2. Keep hands away: One way people catch germs is by touching a germy area and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Limit touching your face, especially while in public.
  3. Keep your distance: Flu viruses can be spread up to 6 feet when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks. Keep your distance if someone has a respiratory illness.
  4. Keep covered: Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. If you don’t have one handy, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow instead of your hands.
  5. Keep your immune system strong: You’re more likely to get sick if you have a weak immune system. Getting enough sleep, managing stress, eating healthy foods, and staying active are a few ways to keep your body strong enough to fight off infection.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How much does a flu shot cost?

Most Florida Blue members can get a flu shot at no extra cost when they go to an in-network doctor or pharmacy.

Many Florida Blue members can earn up to $20 in rewards for getting their flu shot. And some pharmacies are offering additional rewards when you get your flu shot (check with your local pharmacy).

Florida Blue Centers are offering community vaccine clinics this fall. In addition to the flu vaccine, several other routine vaccines will be available. Flu shots are available to those age 3 and over.

Book an appointment to get your shots with the Florida Blue online scheduler.

Can I get the flu from a flu shot?

You can’t get the flu from the flu shot. The injected flu vaccine does not contain any living virus and cannot cause the flu.

Can I get the flu from the nasal flu vaccine?

The nasal vaccine does contain a weakened living virus that can cause mild flu-like symptoms in some people, but it does not cause the flu. Check with your health care provider if you have questions about which vaccine is right for you and your family.

Can I get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

Yes! And the CDC strongly recommends getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines to protect yourself and others. If you get both vaccines at the same time they will be given in different arms.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine protect me from the flu?

While flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, they're caused by different viruses. And their vaccines use different technologies. That’s why health experts urge you to get both vaccines.

What is the best time of the year to get the flu shot?

Your health care provider may recommend waiting until October to get your flu shot to be sure that protection lasts through the height of flu season (December, January, February). It will take two weeks for the vaccine to reach full effectiveness.

How important is it for children to be vaccinated?

A flu shot is especially important for high-risk groups, including senior citizens, children, and pregnant women.

I’m young, healthy and have never had the flu, so do I really need a flu shot?

A flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and others from serious illness. The flu can make you very sick for days or weeks, potentially landing you in the hospital or causing you to miss work or important life events.

Are there special flu shots for people 65 and older?

If you are over 65 you will get a high-dose flu shot.

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