As flu season approaches, Cleveland Clinic is offering appointment-only flu vaccinations at locations across Northeast Ohio. Additional information can be found at www.clevelandclinic.org/flu
Patients can schedule an appointment by phone or online via MyChart. Patients can also receive the flu vaccine at most scheduled in-person office visits with a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant starting Sept. 1. In addition, patients can call their primary care physician’s office to schedule a nurse flu vaccination appointment.
“Every year thousands of people are hospitalized as a result of the flu. It is a highly contagious respiratory infection that should not be taken lightly,” said Steven Gordon, M.D., chair of the Department of Infectious Disease at Cleveland Clinic.
“Getting vaccinated each year is the best way to prevent the spread of influenza, and is the best way to keep ourselves and our communities healthy during flu season. The past two flu seasons have seen lighter influenza activity, but with the rolling back of pandemic precautions such as masking, it’s likely that this flu season may be more severe.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s even more important to receive the flu vaccine to reduce your risk of the flu and to avoid a surge in hospitalizations. Influenza and COVID-19 can have similar symptoms, and in many cases, it may not be possible to tell the difference without being tested. Receiving yearly vaccination provides the best protection against the flu throughout the season.
Cleveland Clinic will still be offering the COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 5 years and older at Hillcrest Hospital and Fairview Hospital vaccination centers. Beginning Sept. 3, when patients present for their COVID-19 vaccination, they will also have the option to receive a flu vaccination. It is safe to be vaccinated for flu and COVID-19 at the same time. COVID-19 vaccinations are also offered at many scheduled primary care and specialty appointments.
Infectious disease experts recommend everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the flu every year.
The flu is contagious and can cause serious respiratory infection. The timing of seasonal flu activity is unpredictable and can vary, but most typically occurs between October and May and usually peaks between December and February. Hospitals are preparing for a heavier and earlier flu season this year.
Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing flu complications, such as adults age 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, and children younger than 5.
The same precautions that protect against COVID-19 also will help protect from the flu – proper hand hygiene, social distancing, staying home when sick and wearing masks. In addition, there are prescription antiviral medications that can be used to treat influenza illness.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, dry cough, headache, sore throat, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.
Click here for interactive tools and to learn more about the flu and its impact.