Health Department

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administration office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location. COVID-19 call center hours are Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm.

TTY 711

10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030

Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H.,
Director of Health

Influenza (Flu)

Woman sitting on sofa covering her nose and mouth with a tissue and reading a thermometer in her handInfluenza, also known as the flu, is a highly contagious infection of the breathing system (nose, throat and lungs) caused by flu viruses.

Seasonal flu is caused by viruses that already circulate among people. Most people have some immunity and a vaccine is available to help prevent the flu. In the United States, flu season usually starts in late fall and lasts throughout the winter, sometimes into early spring. Each year, more than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized from complications of the flu, and about 36,000 die as a result.

2021-2022 Flu Season

With the COVID-19 pandemic still underway, it’s more important than ever that everyone do their part to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.

Health experts urge everyone 6 months of age and older to get a flu shot this year and every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu vaccination. Find out more..

See: CDC's Frequently Asked Flu Questions: 2021-2022 Season. 

2021-2022 Flu Updates 

National Influenza Vaccination Week: Dec. 5-11

This annual observance is a reminder to everyone 6 months and older that there’s still time to get vaccinated against flu. Since flu viruses are constantly changing and protection from vaccination decreases over time, getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to prevent flu. ​Flu vaccines are the only vaccines that protect against flu and are proven to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.

It's National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW)! Did you know that flu season can begin as early as October, it usually peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May? As long as flu virsuses are spreading, it's not too late to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones through fall, winter and into spring. #GetAFluVax

Where to get a flu vaccine

Flu vaccine is available now in the community, including at pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and grocery stores. Find a location near you using

The Health Department is offering flu shots for children and adults by appointment only. 

The following fees will apply for a flu vaccine at the Health Department: Medicaid Insurance: $0; Uninsured: $25 adults & $21.24 children; Private Insurance: $30. Most health insurance plans cover flu shots for free. The Health Department is out-of-network for private health insurance. If you have private health insurance, you are encouraged to get the flu vaccine at an in-network provider. 

Call 703-246-7100, TTY 711 to make an appointment or with questions about fees. 

Did You Know?

  • An annual flu vaccine is the best way to fight the flu.
  • Flu vaccine is safe and effective. 
  • There is no live flu virus in the injectable vaccine and it cannot cause the flu. 
  • The CDC recommend that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against the flu EVERY year, especially people who are at high risk.

Flu Basics

How Flu Spreads

The main way flu viruses spread is from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. When someone with the flu coughs or sneezes, droplets containing the virus are sprayed into the air. Someone else can become infected if they breathe the infected droplets, or touch infected droplets on surfaces and then touch their own eyes, nose or mouth.

Symptoms of Flu

Flu symptoms can often be confused with the common cold, but the flu usually comes on more suddenly and is more severe than the common cold. Symptoms of flu may include fever (usually high), headache, tiredness and weakness (can be extreme), dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body or muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (much more common among children than adults). People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose and typically do not develop serious health problems.

A person who is sick with the flu is contagious, meaning they can spread the virus. Adults can be contagious from one day before having symptoms to seven days after getting sick. Children can be contagious for even longer than seven days.

Learn more about the difference between flu and a common cold and how to care for yourself at home when you are sick with the flu.

Preventing the Flu

Getting an annual flu vaccine protects yourself, your family, and the vulnerable people in your community. 

Learn more ways to fight the flu.

Complications of Flu and When to Seek Care

In some people, flu can cause serious complications such as bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and heart failure. The people most at risk of complications for seasonal flu are:

  • Children younger than 2 years.
  • Adults 65 and older.
  • People with weakened immune systems and chronic illnesses such as asthma, congestive heart failure and diabetes.

If you have underlying medical conditions you are at greater risk of developing flu-related complications; you should consult your doctor if you have flu symptoms.

When to seek medical care for flu

What you should know about flu antiviral drugs

Other Types of Flu

Flu Information for Health Care Professionals and Laboratories

Flu Reporting

Physicians and laboratories are encouraged to report any laboratory-confirmed influenza (including rapid tests) to the Fairfax County Health Department. Please contact the Communicable Disease/Epidemiology unit with any questions at 703-246-2433.

Monitoring Flu Activity

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Fairfax County Health Department monitor the level of activity of influenza-like illness (ILI) each week from October through May. Those are the months when flu is most likely to occur in Virginia, and that time period is referred to as the “flu season.”

We track:

  • Pneumonia and Influenza deaths in Fairfax County.
  • Number of students absent from Fairfax County schools.
  • Influenza-like illnesses reported from specific medical offices in Fairfax County.
  • Influenza-like illness and respiratory illness hospital emergency department and selected pediatric urgent care visits.
  • Selected laboratory data.

This information is used to:

  • Determine outbreaks.
  • Track patterns of illnesses.
  • To measure illness impact.

See VDH weekly surveillance reports.

For information about national flu surveillance, go to CDC's Flu Activity & Surveillance web page.

Educational Materials

Download these educational materials for your home, work, faith community and elsewhere.

It's Flu Season

It's Flu Season

Translations: Spanish

Fairfax Virtual Assistant