Protect Yourself From the Flu

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. Because COVID-19 and the flu virus will likely both be spreading during fall and winter months, this year we are offering patients the option to receive their flu shot along with a COVID vaccine or booster, as needed. The vaccines may prevent illness. If vaccinated people become ill, they have more mild illness.

We are providing flu shots to established Henry Ford patients by appointment only at all Henry Ford primary care and specialty locations. We will not offer the high-dose flu vaccine during the 2022-2023 flu season.

The CDC now says it’s safe for people with a history of egg allergies to receive any licensed flu vaccine. Read more here.

Get the flu shot wherever it's convenient

To assure social distancing at all our facilities, we are NOT offering walk-in flu shots at our medical centers this year. Here are ways for you to get your flu shot now:
  • Schedule a flu shot through your MyChart account. If you don’t have MyChart, sign up today.
  • Ask for a flu shot during an appointment with your primary care or specialty doctor
  • Retail pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, RiteAid, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Meijer offer flu shots

COVID-19 complicates flu season

We strongly urge that all persons over the age of 6 months get a flu shot to help protect from getting sick with the flu, especially since the COVID-19 virus is still circulating. Some people, such as the elderly, young children, and people with chronic health conditions like lung or heart disease, or diabetes are at high risk of serious flu complications. It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after the flu shot.

If you think you have the flu

Most people with the flu do not need medical care, and should stay home to prevent spreading the virus to others. If you get sick with flu symptoms you should:

  • Stay home and rest
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid close contact with people in your home
  • Drink plenty of water and other liquids to prevent dehydration
  • Call your primary care doctor if you are very sick
  • If you are not sure if your symptoms are flu or COVID-19 call your primary care doctor or complete our assessment tool for next steps

The flu is a virus, so antibiotics will not effectively treat flu symptoms. The best way to prevent spreading the flu is to stay home if you are sick.

  • When to seek emergency medical care

    If you become ill and have any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

    Warning signs in children

    • Fast breathing
    • Bluish or gray skin color
    • Not drinking enough fluids
    • Not waking up or not interacting
    • Irritability so bad the child does not want to be held
    • Symptoms improving, then returning with fever and worse cough

    Warning signs in adults

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    • Sudden dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Severe or persistent vomiting
    • Symptoms improving, then returning with fever and worse cough
  • Call us for advice

    Our MyCare Advice Line is available 24/7 at no charge to patients with a Henry Ford internal medicine, family medicine or pediatric doctor. It is staffed by Henry Ford Registered nurses who can offer you advice about the flu and other illnesses and help you decide if you can self-treat at home or need to seek medical care. Call us at (844) 262-1949.

    • Non-Henry Ford patients, please call your primary care doctor for advice
    • Henry Ford Jackson patients, please call your primary care doctor for advice

  • Symptoms
  • Virtual Care from home

    If you think you have the flu, you probably won’t feel like leaving home to see your doctor. But don’t worry. We now offer various virtual care options through your Henry Ford MyChart account. Through our virtual care options, you can engage in a live video visit, 24/7, with a Henry Ford doctor. Or describe your symptoms to your doctor in an e-visit message, and within one business day you will get a reply. Whatever virtual care option you choose, you can stay at home and get the care you need.

  • Treating Flu

    There are prescription medicines called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat flu illness. These medicines are prescribed by a doctor and are not sold over the counter. When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by one or two days. They also can prevent serious complications like pneumonia.

    Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person is at high risk of serious flu complications or is very sick from the flu.

    Practice good health hygiene

    During flu season and throughout the year, take these actions to help stop the spread of germs:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    • Wash your hands. A lot. Use soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizing gel or wipes.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
    • Clean and disinfect touched surfaces at home, work or school.
  • Where to get care
    • Stay home if you’re sick so you don’t spread the virus to others.
    • If your symptoms get worse and you need to get care, visit one of our same-day care clinics. Click here to find the best and lowest-cost place to get care.  
    • Going to an ER should be your last resort. Emergency room staff must treat the most critically sick or injured patients first. So you may end up with a long wait for care and a high copayment, compared with a doctor or urgent care visit.
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