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Here’s how to be ready for flu season.

No matter where you live or what your age is, we’re all susceptible to the dreaded flu. Influenza, or, as it’s more commonly known, the flu, is a virus that can spread quickly and easily through tiny droplets released when a person coughs or sneezes. Flu season typically runs every year from October until April.

Flu symptoms can be mild or severe and include:

  • Sore throat
  • Low-grade fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Feeling tired or run down
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Although the flu can be much more serious than a cold, the catch is that flu symptoms, especially when they’re mild, are often mistaken for other illnesses including colds.

“Because the common cold and the flu share similar symptoms, it’s easy to think you’ve simply caught a cold and should treat it with cold medicine when, in fact, you actually have the flu. Colds do cause a stuffy nose or cough, but they don’t usually cause a headache,” says Dr. Alison Brodginski, an infectious diseases specialist at Geisinger’s Wilkes-Barre clinic.

If you’re under the weather with the flu, you can expect your symptoms to last for about a week.

Why your flu shot is so important

The good news is that preventing the flu is easy. Start by getting your annual flu shot—the sooner, the better. The flu vaccine offers many benefits, and it may just save your life! Besides not getting sick with the flu, here are just a few reasons to get your flu shot.

  • You’ll avoid putting your friends, family and co-workers at risk of the flu
  • You’ll eliminate the risk of flu-related complications, such as pneumonia or a sinus infection. The flu may worsen chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or congestive heart failure. 
  • You won’t have to miss work, school or time with loved ones due to being sick
  • You’ll be protected throughout the entire flu season

“Each year, nearly 1 million people are hospitalized from the flu. Getting a flu shot can greatly reduce the number and lower your risk of getting the flu,” Dr. Brodginski notes.

Get your flu shot at Geisinger

Getting your flu shot is easier than ever for Geisinger patients. We’ve got many ways to receive your flu vaccine.

  • Visit us on 1 of 3 Super Saturday flu vaccine days between 9 a.m. and noon. Simply walk into the locations listed here. No appointment is necessary.
    o September 28
    o October 26
    o November 23
  • Stop by your Geisinger doctor’s office any weekday beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3, during regular office hours. No appointment is necessary.
  • Have kids age 9 or older? Stop by any Geisinger Careworks location 7 days a week, during regular business hours. No appointment is necessary.
  • Adults can walk into select Geisinger CareSite Pharmacy locations any weekday, during regular hours and request a flu shot. No appointment is necessary. 
  • Directly schedule an appointment with your Geisinger provider through MyGeisinger or by calling 800-275-6401 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. (say "flu shot" when prompted).
  • No locations near you? Find a Geisinger Health Plan participating pharmacy.

Everyone 6 months old and up should get their yearly flu vaccine. Pregnant women, those 65 years or older and those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to the flu. 

“The vaccine is highly effective at preventing the flu. Save yourself the misery of having the flu and get your flu shot this year,” advises Dr. Brodginski.

Next steps:

Get your flu shot at Geisinger

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