COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: Testing and Information | Vaccine Updates | Visitor Guidelines

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu is spread to others through tiny droplets that are made when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. The influenza virus infects cells in your body, which causes inflammation and leads to the symptoms that make you feel sick.

Flu symptoms typically come on suddenly and include some or all of the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting, diarrhea (more common in children than adults)
Flu Vaccination (Lakshmi Kurre, MD): Every Day Health 2021
Lakshmi Kurre, MD, primary care physician, explains why it is so important to get a flu shot to protect yourself from the flu, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch Now

Preventing the Flu

To avoid getting the flu, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face and stay out of crowds. But more important than ever this year, get your flu shot. It’s the best way to protect yourself and others. A flu shot provides many benefits, including keeping you from getting sick with flu and reducing the severity of your illness if you do get flu.

Where can I safely get a flu shot?

We understand the importance of protecting our community, and we are making every effort to safely and effectively provide vaccinations to those that are interested. We offer many safe and convenient options for anyone, even if you’ve never been a patient of ours before.

Before You Arrive

  • When you come in for a flu shot, you need to wear a mask. We also recommend a short-sleeved shirt.
  • We accept most insurance plans. Before you come in, please check with your insurance regarding coverage.

You do NOT need to have a provider at a location or be a patient at a Froedtert & MCW location to get your flu shot at any of the options below. 

  • Froedtert Pharmacy Locations

    Froedtert Pharmacy locations allow walk-in flu and pneumonia shots. You do NOT have to have an established primary care provider or be an existing Froedtert & MCW patient to receive the vaccine with the pharmacies. Please note there are no vaccinations at the Mequon location.

    Flu shots are billed by the retail pharmacy to your pharmacy insurance. Some insurances require patients to receive flu vaccinations through their medical provider. Please contact your insurance plan to determine where your flu shot will be covered by your insurance.

  • Health Centers and Clinics

    You can walk in to any of our health centers or the Internal Medicine Clinic in the Specialty Clinics at Froedtert Hospital to receive a flu shot. While we accept walk-ins, we recommend calling to schedule an appointment to minimize wait time.

    You do NOT need to have a provider at the location or be a patient at any Froedtert & MCW location to get a flu shot at one of our health centers or clinics. When you get to the health center, go to the registration desk or primary care registration, depending on the location.

  • FastCare® Locations

    Flu shots are also available at our FastCare® locations. We encourage you to call or reserve a spot online. You may also arrive on a walk-in basis, and we will accommodate you as best we can pending other patients' appointments.

This Season's Vaccine Products

We will offer the following products for this upcoming season.

  • Preferred Products
    • Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, 65 years and older
    • Fluzone Quadrivalent, 6 months to 64 years
    • FluBlok Quadrivalent (egg free), 18 years and older with anaphylactic egg allergy
  • Alternative Products
    • Fluarix Quadrivalent, 6 months to 64 years
    • FluMist Quadrivalent, 2 years to 49 years with a severe aversion to injectables; restricted to outpatient use only

When to Seek Care for the Flu

Most people with the flu do not need medical care. However, if you are at a high risk for severe illness (young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions) or you become very sick, you should contact your primary care provider.

Anyone experiencing the following symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to rouse
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

Flu Care Options — Fast and Nearby

Feel like you may have the flu? Experiencing fever, chills, body aches, fatigue, cough, sore throat? Many people think of the Emergency Department first, but it should normally be your last resort.

  • Virtual Clinic — Log on to speak with a board-certified family medicine provider via webcam for $49.
  • Same-Day Care — Find locations and wait times. Flu shots available.
  • Primary Care Provider — Contact your primary care provider for an appointment. Flu shots available. Don't have a primary care provider? We can help you find one.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Flu

  • When is flu season?

    The timing of flu season can vary slightly each year. Typically, flu activity begins to increase in October, with the peak of flu season between December and February. However, you can get the flu anytime of the year.

  • Is a flu shot required?

    The state of Wisconsin does not require flu shots for individuals. However, the CDC highly recommends everyone six months and older receive a flu shot every year.

  • When should I get my flu shot? How often should I get a flu shot?

    You should get a flu shot before the flu virus starts spreading in your community each year. Fall is the best time to receive your flu shot, ideally September or October. The CDC recommends you receive a flu shot by the end of October each year.

  • Do I need a flu vaccine if I’m vaccinated against COVID-19?

    With flu season upon us, we encourage everyone to get both the flu vaccine and all COVID-19 vaccinations appropriate for them. The COVID-19 and flu vaccines train your immune system to protect you against completely different viruses. Getting a shot that protects you against one virus will not offer any protection against the other.

  • Can I get the flu shot and a COVID-19 shot at the same time?

    You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same time. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, and possible side effects after getting vaccinated are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.

  • How long does the flu shot last?

    Everyone six months and older should receive the flu shot annually. Your immune protection from the vaccine wears down over time, so getting the flu shot each year is your best protection against the flu. Flu viruses are also constantly changing, so the vaccine is reviewed every year and updated based on which influenza viruses are most common that year to give you the best protection possible.

  • How do I update my flu vaccination records?

    To update your flu vaccination records, log in to MyChart. From the MyChart homepage, navigate to the menu and select "Preventive Care." Then, mark your seasonal flu immunization as complete.

  • Can I still get the flu after getting the shot?

    It is possible to get the flu after getting the flu shot. However, the flu shot reduces your chances of getting the flu, reduces the severity of your illness if you do get it and reduces your chances of hospitalization, severe complications and death. In addition to getting the flu shot, you should continue to take preventive measures to avoid the spread of the flu. These include:

    • Covering coughs
    • Frequent hand washing
    • Avoiding people who are sick
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and frequently touched objects regularly
  • How can I tell if it is the flu, COVID-19, a head cold or something else?

    The only way to truly identify your illness is with testing. Symptoms of the flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses can be similar, so you cannot tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. If you are experiencing flu or COVID-19 symptoms, contact your provider for the next steps on testing and care.

    Flu Symptoms

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Fatigue
    • Vomiting, diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

    COVID-19 Symptoms

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • What can I do at home to treat the flu and its symptoms?

    Stay home and get plenty of rest. Avoid close contact with others in your house to avoid spreading the flu to them. Drink plenty of water and clear fluids, as it is important to stay hydrated.

    If you become very sick, are pregnant, are age 65 or older, or are otherwise at high risk for flu complications, call your primary care provider.

  • Is there a cure or treatment for the flu?

    There are antiviral drugs that may be used as a treatment for the flu. Antiviral drugs can help lessen your flu symptoms, prevent serious complications and shorten the time you are sick by one or two days. These treatments require a prescription from your health care provider.

  • How long does the flu typically last?

    How long the flu lasts depends on the severity of your illness and overall health. Symptoms usually appear one to four days after exposure to the flu virus and typically last about five days. Symptoms typically will go away within one to two weeks. The CDC recommends staying home for 24 hours after your fever has gone away and you no longer need to use fever–reducing medicine.

  • How serious is the flu?

    While most cases of the flu are mild, serious cases can cause severe illness, hospitalization, severe complications and even death. It is important for everyone six months and older to receive the flu shot and take preventive measures to stop the spread of germs.

  • How can I protect against the flu – besides washing my hands and sneezing/coughing into my elbow?

    The first and most important step in protecting yourself and others against the flu is getting the flu shot. Everyone six months or older should receive a flu shot annually. The flu vaccine reduces your chances of getting the flu, reduces the severity of your illness if you do get it, and reduces your chances of hospitalization, severe complications and death.

    It is also important to take everyday preventive measures to stop the spread of the flu, including:

    • Covering coughs
    • Frequent hand washing
    • Avoiding people who are sick
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and frequently touched objects regularly