While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone older than six months be vaccinated for the flu, if you do get the flu, there are things you should do to keep from spreading the illness.
The CDC recommends that individuals stay home while sick and for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone. The fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine. If a person must go out in public while sick, they should wear a facemask if possible, wash their hands to keep from spreading germs and cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or cloth (not their hands).
It will take anywhere from five to 10 days for the illness to run its course. For most people who contract the flu, they should try to stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids and take acetaminophen or an anti-inflammatory medicine.
To avoid getting the flu, Spectrum Health recommends:
- Get your seasonal flu shot.
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly.
- Avoid contact with people who have flu-like symptoms.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Sore throat
- Fever (sometimes) - a temperature greater than 100° F or 37.8° C
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Diarrhea (sometimes)
- Vomiting (sometimes)
Individuals experiencing these symptoms who become concerned about their illness should call their primary care physician for advice. Urgent Care locations and emergency departments should be used only for people experiencing the following:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- So irritable the child doesn’t even want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or stomach
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
Visiting Spectrum Health During Flu Season
One of the most important tools in fighting the transmission of flu is limiting exposure.
The flu can be especially dangerous to the young, frail or elderly. For the safety of patients and staff Spectrum Health is limiting visitation to its hospitals. In addition, we are asking patients to limit the number of people who accompany them to office and clinic visits.
Visitors are asked to respect the following restrictions:
- If you are ill, please refrain from visiting the hospital
- All visitors are expected to be healthy and the hospitals are taking active steps to protect patients, staff and visitors. A healthy visitor is someone who does not have the following symptoms:
- Fever, greater than 100.4 F
- Sore throat
- Runny nose or congestion
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Rash or draining sores
- Only healthy visitors may visit patients in the hospitals or outpatient clinics
- Only essential visitors are allowed
These conditions apply to visitors at all Spectrum Health hospitals and are effective until further notice. These measures are designed to protect vulnerable patients, as well as staff members.
Flu Help Line
Please call the flu help line at 616.486.3939 with any questions regarding flu season.
Additional Flu Information
Flu reaches epidemic proportions
Cost, Payment and Insurance Options for Flu Shots
Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine
Avoiding and Treating the Flu
Additional Flu Resources
Three Easy Ways to Get a Flu Shot
Protect yourself and the people you love by getting a flu shot at Spectrum Health. There are three easy ways to get a flu shot:
- SHMG Primary Care Office
Make an appointment with your Spectrum Health Medical Group primary care provider.
- Community Clinic
Spectrum Health Visiting Nurse Association holds many clinics in the West Michigan communities during the initial flu months. Visit our Classes & Events page to find a flu shot clinic near you.
- Urgent Care Centers
Find a Spectrum Health Urgent Care Center near you.
Business & Employee Flu Clinics
Employer groups can schedule public flu clinics for their employees by calling the Visiting Nurse Association at 616.486.3050.