Fight the flu
Because of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to prevent the flu. Get your flu shot and learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and others.
Where to get a flu shot
Get your flu shot early, before flu season starts at the end of October, to keep you and our community safe.
The following Prisma Health hospital-based drive-through COVID-19 testing sites are offering flu immunizations:
- Greenville Memorial Hospital, weekdays, 7 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m.–1p.m.
- Baptist Easley Hospital, weekdays, 8 a.m.–noon.
- Laurens County Memorial Hospital, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m.–12 p.m.
- Oconee Memorial Hospital, Tuesdays, 7–11 a.m.
- Greer Memorial Hospital, weekdays, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
- Richland Hospital, weekdays, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sundays, 8 a.m.–1 p.m.
Flu vaccines cannot be given to those who have COVID-19 or think they have COVID-19.
Protect yourself from the flu
In addition to getting vaccinated, follow these three steps to prevent the spread of influenza:
- Clean your hands frequently. The flu virus can live on surfaces anywhere from one to two days. If you get flu virus on your hands and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you could get the flu.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. People can touch their face around two to four times per minute. If your hands are contaminated with the flu or another germ, you could potentially get sick.
- Avoid close contact with sick people. If somebody is sick with the flu and they sneeze, the germs can spread three to six feet from the sneeze. By avoiding close contact with those who are coughing and sneezing, you may be able to keep yourself from becoming sick.
Know signs and symptoms of the flu
Influenza is a highly infectious viral illness that typically begins suddenly with these symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Muscle aches and pains
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some people can be infected and spread the disease without feeling ill. You can spread the illness a day before you feel ill.
What to do if you have flu symptoms
Contact your provider or use a Prisma Health Virtual Visit to see if antiviral drugs are appropriate for you. They can lessen flu symptoms and duration, but the medication will work best when started within 48 hours of an initial flu diagnosis.
Frequently asked questions about the flu shot
The influenza vaccine is made from inactivated viruses and can NOT cause illness. About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against flu-like illnesses caused by non-influenza viruses. The incubation period for flu is 1–3 days. It takes approximately two WEEKS for the vaccine to be effective.
Although the vaccine may not be perfect for the predominant virus strains circulating each year, getting the vaccine does provide some protection, meaning that those who are vaccinated and subsequently exposed to the flu are less likely to have severe complications, including hospitalization and death, if they contract the flu.
Even if you don’t experience flu symptoms, you might be a carrier and can pass the disease onto others. The flu strains are constantly changing, so even if you have not contracted flu in the past, this does not mean that you are immune from this year’s strain(s). You could have a sub-clinical case of the flu (meaning you have the flu virus but do NOT have signs and symptoms of illness) and can still transmit the virus to others who may be at risk for complications if they get the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists urge all pregnant women to be immunized. By getting a flu vaccine, a breastfeeding mother or mother-to-be not only protects herself but also her baby, who benefits from protective antibodies during the first months of life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) specifically recommends the influenza vaccine be given annually to all adults at risk for medical complications from influenza or more likely to require medical care, such as adults with chronic conditions. The CDC recommends that high risk populations and those that care for them (healthcare personnel) take an annual flu vaccine for protection from seasonal flu outbreaks and the complications which can result, such as bacterial pneumonia.
Since the 1950s, there have been safe, effective vaccines produced to protect people from seasonal influenza illness. The seasonal vaccine is manufactured each year based upon the viral strains that have been circulating globally and are predicted to be the most prevalent during the flu season. The inactivated vaccine is administered by injection into the arm. It is a “killed” vaccine and is not able to cause an infection; instead, it stimulates the immune system to mount a response to the virus.
Most people can receive an influenza immunization. Those who should not receive the vaccine are individuals with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome within six weeks of a previous dose of influenza vaccine. People who have a severe egg allergy can receive the egg-free Flublok vaccine.
There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19.
From your health and wellness experts at Prisma Health
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