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Influenza (Flu) Care

Time for Your Flu Shot

Every flu season is different, but it typically occurs from late fall to early spring. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends flu shots for almost everyone 6 months and older.

The flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness that causes fever, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, but an annual flu vaccine is a great prevention tool. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza, so it is best to get the shot before the flu season starts.

Symptoms of the flu typically appear one to four days after infection and can come on abruptly. The flu is usually worse than the common cold with more intense symptoms.

At Lake Regional Primary Care Clinics

All seven Lake Regional primary care clinics — Camdenton, Eldon, Iberia, Lake Ozark, Laurie, Lebanon and Osage Beach — provide flu shots for established patients during regular office hours. Scheduled appointments are preferred.

According to the CDC, children 6 months to 8 years old who have not had a flu shot before need two doses given at least four weeks apart. In addition, kids in this group who received only one shot in previous flu seasons may also need two shots. They should get an early start so they can get the second dose by the end of October.

The COVID-19 vaccine is also available for anyone 5 and up at all Lake Regional primary care clinics.

At Lake Regional Pharmacy

Lake Regional Pharmacy offers flu shots at each of its five locations: Camdenton, Eldon, Lake Ozark, Laurie and Osage Beach. Children must be at least 7 years old to receive a pharmacy flu shot.

All Lake Regional Pharmacy locations also offer the shingles vaccination. No appointment is necessary for either vaccine.

At Lake Regional Occupational Medicine

Lake Regional Occupational Medicine offers flu vaccination services for area employers. Businesses can send employees to either the Osage Beach, Eldon or Lebanon clinic location. Flexible payment options are available, including invoice billing and clinic vouchers. For more information, contact Occupational Medicine clinic manager Rachel Bailey at 573.348.8045 or 417.991.3103.

Tips for Preventing and Treating the Flu

Know the signs of flu. Suspect the flu if you suddenly feel sick with some or all of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue. Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly, tend to be severe and last longer than cold symptoms. Usually, most symptoms are gone after five days, although cough and weakness may continue for a week or two.

Understand how flu is treated. Flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. As a result, antibiotics — which fight infections caused by bacteria — do not help people with the flu get well.

The right treatment for the flu is rest and drinking lots of fluids. Over-the-counter medications may provide relief for symptoms such as a sore throat or congestion. Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin (ibuprofen) can help with fever and pain. Antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate), usually are needed only if the patient is at high risk for serious flu-related complications. People at high risk include children younger than 5 years old; adults 65 and older; and pregnant women.

Know when to seek emergency care. Most cases of flu, though miserable, resolve without complications. However, flu can develop into an emergency.

Adults should seek immediate medical care if they are having difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen; sudden dizziness; confusion; severe or persistent vomiting; or flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

In children, warning signs include fast breathing or trouble breathing; bluish skin color; not drinking enough fluids; not waking up or not interacting; being so irritable that the child does not want to be held; flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough; and fever with a rash.

For infants, get medical help right away if the infant is unable to eat; has trouble breathing; has no tears when crying; or has significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.

Prevent flu’s spread. If you are sick, stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. If you must leave home, for example to get medical care, wear a facemask if you have one and cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of your elbow or a tissue. Wash your hands often, both to prevent passing on the flu if you have it and to help you avoid catching it if you do not.

Learn more about flu in our Health Library.