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Flu Season 2020-2021: What You Need to Know

Influenza, commonly known as “the flu,” is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system including your lungs, nose and throat. Symptoms are similar to the common cold, but you may also have body aches, tiredness, fever, chills, and sometimes nausea.


Where can I get a flu shot?

There are many ways to get a seasonal flu shot.

  • Attend a free Presbyterian Medical Group flu shot clinic in your community
  • Find a flu shot
  • Current Presbyterian Medical Group patients can request an appointment for a nurse visit at a family medicine clinic.
  • Request a visit in MyChart

If I think I have the flu, should I go to the doctor?

Most people who get the flu do not need to see a doctor and can treat themselves at home. It is also encouraged that you stay home to not risk spreading the flu.

You can take advantage of one of our at-home options to triage your symptoms.

  • Video Visit: If you are a Presbyterian Health Plan member, you can request a Video Visit to see a doctor in real time.
  • Learn more and schedule
  • Online Visit: Through our online system, Presbyterian Medical Group providers diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications based on a free questionnaire you fill out.
  • Learn more and schedule

If you are experiencing more severe symptoms or feel you are at risk of complications, make an appointment to see a doctor right away, or go to an urgent care.

Find an Urgent Care


Who gets the flu?

With or without a flu shot, some people are at a higher risk of getting the flu or developing complications of the flu. Anyone can get the flu, but the following people are more likely:

  • Young children under age 5, and especially those under 12 months
  • Adults older than age 65
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes

How can I prevent the flu?

Many times, the flu can be prevented with a seasonal flu shot. But that doesn’t always make you 100% protected. There are ways to help limit your chances of getting the flu, or to stop the spread of the flu, including:

  • Washing your hands often and thoroughly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth.
  • When not wearing a face mask, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or cough/sneeze into the inner bend of your elbow if tissues are not available.
  • Avoiding crowded areas or people you think may have the flu. If you are sick, stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away (without the use of fever-reducing medicines) to protect others.

What is the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

While the flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.

Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference based on symptoms alone and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.


Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

The flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19. However, flu vaccinations have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine can help reduce your risk from flu and keep you out of the hospital.

For more information about COVID-19 and the flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control.