The Flu Information Center

The Flu Shot 

The best way to prevent the flu and its spread is to get a flu shot. 

This is especially true if you spend time with the young or elderly. These groups are at high risk from the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone older than six months receive the flu shot. 

Spectrum Health provides a number of convenient ways for vaccinating you and your family against the flu. You can visit your primary care physician, go to one of our urgent care centers or go to a Spectrum Health community-based clinic. Also, check with your employer to see if they host a Spectrum Health flu clinic at the workplace.


One of the most important tools in fighting the transmission of flu is limiting exposure to the virus and doing the following things:

  • 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.

Seek Care If

Seek emergency medical treatment if you experience these emergency warning signs: 

In children 

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing 
  • Bluish skin color 
  • Not drinking enough fluids 
  • Not waking up or not interacting 
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held 
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough 
  • Fever with a rash 

In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who shows any of these signs: 

  • Inability to eat 
  • Trouble breathing 
  • No tears when crying 
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

In adults 

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough 

If you or a loved one experiences the emergency warning signs listed above, seek immediate care at a hospital emergency room.

When to Seek Care

There is no cure for the flu. The flu shot may prevent the flu or reduce symptoms. Medications can reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness, but they are not a cure.

Most people with flu will have a mild illness and can treat symptoms themselves.

Symptom management

  • Stay home.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take over-the-counter medicine to reduce fever and body aches.

Staying home and avoiding contact with others helps limit the spread of the disease.

If you have flu-like symptoms and are in a high-risk group or are very sick, contact your health care provider, such as a doctor, physician assistant or nurse. 

If you are in a high-risk group, contact your health care provider early in your illness.

Where to Seek Care

Try treating your illness at home with over-the-counter fever and pain reducers, cough medicine, and other products. 

If you are in a high-risk group or cannot control symptoms, seek non-emergency care through one of the following: 

  • Primary care provider office 
  • MedNowSM
  • Urgent care center