How to protect yourself during flu season

What is influenza?

Influenza — also known as the flu — is a highly contagious respiratory virus. The effects of the flu vary from person to person and range from mild to severe. For those at greatest risk, the flu can lead to pneumonia, and can even be fatal.

How can I protect myself from the flu?

Getting a flu shot each year is the best protection. Providence Health Plan recommends a flu shot for everyone 6 months or older, especially:

  • People age 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Individuals of any age with chronic illness, such as heart, lung or kidney disease

There are steps you can take, too, to minimize the spread of germs. Flu season typically peaks in January or February, but you can get your shot as early as September or as late as December and still be protected. Learn more about protecting yourself and your family from the flu.

Why do I need to get a flu shot year after year?

There are two reasons for this. First, new viruses appear each year, and vaccines are created to protect against the introduction of those new viruses. Second, your body's immunity to flu viruses diminishes over time, and so getting a flu shot at the start of every flu season is the best way to stay healthy.

Where can I get a flu shot?

You can get a flu shot at your health care provider's office or any participating pharmacy, including at any of these locations:

Flu shots are covered in full at participating pharmacies. Present your Providence Health Plan identification card when receiving the flu shot. Contact customer service with questions regarding where to receive your flu shot.

For Medicare Advantage members

If you get a flu shot from a community clinic, you may need to pay full cost and be reimbursed. Mail your receipt to Providence Medicare Advantage Plans, P.O. Box 5548, Portland, OR 97228-5548. For questions, call your customer service team.