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Flu Prevention and Vaccine

Seasonal Influenza

  • Flu season in Chicago typically occurs annually from October-May.
  • Symptoms of influenza (flu) include:
    • Fever/chills
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue
  • Influenza can affect people of all ages, but some people are at higher risk of flu complications. This includes people 65 years and older, people with certain medication conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.
  • Potential complications of the flu include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections.
  • COVID-19 vs. the Flu: There are many similarities between COVID-19 and influenza symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses and are treated in different ways. Often the only way to know for sure is to get tested by a medical professional. The CDC has information about the Similarities and Differences Between Flu and COVID-19.
  • Cold vs. Flu: People can sometimes confuse a cold with the flu. Generally speaking, a cold is milder than the flu and doesn't cause complications.

Preventing the Flu

Influenza Vaccinations (Flu Shot)

  • The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot every year. Flu vaccinations are usually delivered to health care facilities in August or early September each year.
  • The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated against the flu.
  • It is recommended that most people be vaccinated in September and October so that the protection lasts throughout the flu season. Everyone should ideally be vaccinated by the end of October.
  • Even if you are not at high-risk for serious complications, the people around you may be. The best way to protect the small children and older adults in your life is to get vaccinated yourself.
  • There are many misconceptions about flu vaccines. The CDC has information about common misconceptions, with links to scientific evidence.
  • Different Types of Flu Vaccines: All are effective to prevent flu, but some may be better for certain populations.

Other Prevention Methods

In addition to getting an annual flu vaccination, the CDC recommends these flu prevention measures:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, if available. If not use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.

Flu Vaccinations at the SXU Health Center

  • The SXU Health Center usually receives flu vaccines from our supplier in late August or early September of each year. We begin vaccinating our patients for the flu as soon as we have the vaccines in stock.
  • Most insurance plans cover this preventative vaccine at 100% and the Health Center will submit the claim to your carrier on your behalf if you have an in-network plan.
  • If you do not have insurance, are out-of network, or if you would prefer us not to submit the claim to your insurance company, please call for our low self-pay rate.

If you have any questions, please call the Health Center at 773-298-3712.