Frequently Asked Questions

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Flu Shots

Salt Lake Valley Health Department website

What is the difference between a cold and the H1N1 flu?


  • Sneezing and stuffy nose are commonly present with a cold and typically resolve spontaneously within a week.
  • Chills and headache are UNCOMMON with a cold.
  • Tiredness is FAIRLY MILD with a cold.
  • Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days.
  • Chest discomfort is MILD to moderate with a cold.


  • Dry cough.
  • Severe aches and pains.
  • 60% of people who have the flu experience CHILLS.
  • TIREDNESS is severe with the flu.
  • Stuffy nose and sneezing are NOT COMMON with the flu.
  • The flu has a RAPID ONSET within 3-6 hours. It hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.
  • A HEADACHE is very common with the flu and is present in 80% of flu cases.
  • Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.

Who should get a flu shot?

The flu shot is recommended every fall for:

  • people age 50 or older
  • women who will be in their 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy during flu season
  • residents of long-term care facilities
  • people younger than 50 who have medical problems such as heart or lung disease (including asthma),
    diabetes, kidney disease, or an immune system weakened by disease or medication
  • those who work with or live with any of these individuals
  • healthy children from 6 to 23 months of age.

Children less than 9 years of age who receive vaccine for the first time need a booster dose one month after the first dose. Parents should check with their health care provider to discuss annual influenza vaccination of healthy children.

What are the facts about flu nasal sprays?

The FDA recently approved a new nasal spray influenza vaccine (Flu Mist) for healthy persons aged 5-49 years of age. Not all clinics will have the new vaccine. more...

How serious is the flu?

Some groups of people are more likely to become seriously ill from influenza and should get the influenza vaccine in October or November. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) influenza causes approximately 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States. More than 90 percent of deaths occur among people age 65 and older.

Utah’s flu season typically runs from November through March with most cases occurring in January and February. Health care providers are encouraged to continue vaccinating through December or later, as long as vaccine is available. It takes about two weeks to develop protection.

Do antibiotics work to treat flu symptoms?

Antibiotics ARE NOT effective against the flu and misusing them can lead to stronger, more resistant bugs. Talk to your health care provider about using over-the-counter medicines like decongestants, cough-syrups, and pain relievers to reduce flu symptoms.

Where can I get a flu shot?

Utah Department of Health, Flu Vaccine Locator.

Please call or visit any SL Valley Public Health Center, contact your health care provider, a community nursing services, or call the Utah Immunization Hotline at 1-800-275-0659.

If I am feeling ill should I get a flu shot?

If you are sick enough to go to the doctor, probably not. If you are barely showing symptoms it might be wise to wait a couple of days before deciding to go in for a flu shot.