Flu information center

flu temp

One little poke can go a long way to protect you, your family and the community. The more people that are vaccinated, the more we build our strength in numbers to fight the flu together.

Get your flu shot

You can self-schedule your appointment in MyChart at a time and place that works for you.

Cold, flu, or something more?

We offer virtual and in-person care options should you or a loved one feel under the weather.

Flu information for your needs

Is it the flu?
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Feeling sick but unsure if you have the flu? The common cold, flu and COVID-19 share many symptoms, but often present very differently. Here are how each typically show:

table with information about colds flu and covid-19
cold, flu, covid, spanish flu diagram
Where do I get a flu shot?
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Your flu shot options with Spectrum Health

We’re ready for you anywhere that’s most convenient for you and your family, whether it’s at your primary care provider, urgent care or a walk-in clinic. Curbside vaccination is also available – you don’t even need to get out of your car.

  • Schedule in Spectrum Health App or visit MyChart.
  • Find a community clinic near you.
  • Your employer may be participating in a workplace flu clinic through Spectrum Health.
  • Find a location, including urgent care or walk-in clinic, near you.
I'm sick! What now?
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The flu shot may prevent the flu or reduce symptoms, but there is no cure for the flu. The flu may lead to serious illness, particularly for those with chronic health conditions. Most people with flu will have a mild illness and can treat symptoms by:

  • Staying home
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Taking over-the-counter medications to reduce fever, body aches and congestion
Getting care

Get care if you think you need medical attention based on your combination of symptoms.

  • Schedule a video visit with a provider. On-demand video visits are available 24/7, convenient and allow you to stay home to prevent the potential spread to others. Conduct an on-demand video visit using MyChart on desktop or through the Spectrum Health app.
  • After a video visit, the provider may still recommend you be seen in-person or direct you to an urgent care location, based on the severity of your symptoms.
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, it’s critical to quarantine yourself to prevent the potential spread to others.

Visit our COVID-19 Information Center to stay up to date on visitor requirements, ways to schedule and more about vaccinations.

If your symptoms are life threatening, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

Frequently asked questions

Why is the flu shot so important?
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The flu shot is important every year. But with COVID-19, reducing the spread of preventable respiratory illnesses is more important than ever. The more people that are vaccinated against the flu, the less-likely it’s able to spread. COVID-19 and flu symptoms are very similar and transmit to people in similar ways. The flu vaccine has been safely proven to reduce the risk of the flu.

Who needs a flu shot?
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Nearly everyone, except infants less than six-months-old. Flu vaccines are particularly important for children under 2, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women and those with chronic conditions. If you have questions, check with your doctor about getting the flu shot.

When should I get one?
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Anytime. Our clinics are ready for you. The most optimal time is September through October, but you can get a shot anytime within the flu season. The sooner you get the flu shot, the better. It takes about two weeks for your body to develop protective antibodies.

Can I still get the flu if I got the flu shot?
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Yes. The flu vaccine protects against the most common strains expected during the flu season. It is possible to contract a flu virus not covered by the vaccine or contract the flu in the two-week period it takes for the vaccine to become effective.

What's the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?
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The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference. Testing is needed to tell what the illness is and to confirm a diagnosis. There’s still much to learn about COVID-19, and information is always evolving. We do know the timing of flu season is predictable, and preventing the flu is as easy as getting an annual flu shot.

What else can I do to stay healthy this flu season?
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Wearing masks, washing hands frequently and keeping socially distanced from others will help limit flu spread along with COVID-19. Remember to stay active, eat well and drink lots of water.

Get your flu shot or access to care

Urgent care flu clinics

Walk-in flu clinics

Flu facts and myths

Myth: The flu really isn’t that big of a deal.
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Fact: Flu symptoms can be mild or more severe, and develop into serious health conditions like pneumonia, bronchitis or respiratory failure. Flu vaccinations save lives and prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year.

Myth: The flu shot can you give you the flu.
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Fact: You can't get the flu from the flu vaccine. The flu shot may prevent or reduce your risk of getting the flu, or lessen flu-like symptoms.: You can't get the flu from the flu vaccine. The flu shot may prevent or reduce your risk of getting the flu, or lessen flu-like symptoms.

Myth: I’m healthy, so I don’t need a flu shot.
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Fact: The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months get a flu vaccine every year.

Myth: I don’t need a flu shot because I had one last year.
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Fact: Because the flu virus changes year to year, a flu vaccine is needed every year to protect against the most current strains. Immunity from a flu shot also only lasts for about a year.

Myth: The flu shot will protect me against COVID-19.
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Fact: The flu shot only protects against the flu. The flu shot does not protect against viral gastroenteritis, which is commonly known as "stomach flu".

Health Beat