Providence Reminds Us, ‘Flu season is coming! Protect yourself’

September 23, 2020 Andrea Harger

Want to avoid the flu this year? Getting a flu shot each year is the best protection. Providence recommends a flu shot for everyone 6 months or older, especially:

  • People age 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Individuals of any age with chronic illness, such as heart, lung or kidney disease, asthma or diabetes
  • People who live with or care for those at higher risk

Why should I get a flu shot, especially this year?

The flu vaccine will not help you avoid infection with COVID-19, says Providence Southwest Infectious Disease Physician Preeti Kondal, D.O., Photo courtesy: Providence

Getting a flu shot decreases the possible impacts on your respiratory system. It not only reduces your risk of illness but can prevent hospitalizations. Less people in the hospital fighting the flu, also leaves more resources for the care of COVID-19 patients.

While the flu shot is not 100 percent effective, even if you do get the flu, symptoms are usually much milder if you have been vaccinated.

Will the flu shot protect me from COVID-19?

The flu vaccine will not help you avoid infection with COVID-19, says Providence Southwest Infectious Disease Physician Preeti Kondal, D.O., because it is a different virus than influenza. But it will guard you against influenza strains that are expected this flu season, specifically two different influenzas A strains, and two different influenza B strains.

When is the best time to get a flu shot?

“The flu vaccine is available now, and you should be vaccinated as soon as you can,” says Dr. Kondal. “The vaccine protection lasts about six months.” Flu season typically peaks in January or February.

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

Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called 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 between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.

How do I get a flu shot?

First, contact your primary care provider. If you do not have one, check with your pharmacy, or immediate care, express care or urgent care clinic. Flu shots are covered by most insurance plans.

Virtual option: There’s an app for that!

Providence Express Care Virtual is an app that provides $49 online visits for minor illnesses right on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Photo courtesy: Providence

Providence Express Care Virtual is an app that provides $49 online visits for minor illnesses right on your smartphone, tablet or computer. No appointment needed. Most insurance companies now cover the cost of these visits. Virtual visits are an easy, convenient way to get a diagnosis and treatment recommendation, including a prescription if needed. Wait times average less than five minutes.

This service is something you can do online from your home computer, tablet or mobile device anywhere on the go — is ideal for many common health conditions, including:

  • Sinus, ear or eye infections
  • Cough, cold and flu
  • Rash and joint issues
  • Prescription refills

Go to the Providence website for more information.

Walk-in clinics

It’s flu season! Are you prepared? Photo courtesy: Providence

Providence has three immediate care clinics in Thurston County:

Lacey Immediate Care
4800 College St. SE
360-486-2900
Open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.; weekends 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

West Olympia Immediate Care
1620 Cooper Point Road SW
360-486-6710
Open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; weekends 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Hawks Prairie Immediate Care
2555 Marvin Road NE
360-493-4450
Open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.; weekends 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Providence ExpressCare – Lacey Marketplace

At Express Care, you’ll see a nurse practitioner who is part of your Providence Medical Group’s primary care physician’s care team. They’ll remind you that we use the same electronic health record across our network, so as soon as your visit is complete your primary care physician will know what’s going on with your care.

The clinic is located in the Lacey Marketplace, 1350 Marvin Road NE, Suite D. Open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. Most major insurance plans accepted, and you can book your visit online or just walk-in. For more information or to book an appointment online, visit the Providence ExpressCare website.

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