Help protect yourself and your loved ones. Get the flu shot. 

At a time when the cold, flu and COVID-19 are all circulating in the U.S., it’s more important than ever to stay healthy. The flu shot is your best defense against getting sick from the flu and reducing the spread of illness to family, friends and your community.



Here's how to get your flu shot

A flu shot is easy to get and is available at a variety of health care settings, including your doctor’s office, nearby health clinics and some pharmacies. Please note that some care sites don’t accept walk-ins for flu shots. Please call ahead to confirm and schedule an appointment.

If you have an upcoming appointment with your primary care provider you can get your flu shot* at the same time. You can also schedule your annual wellness visit* or a check-up appointment and get your flu shot during that visit. 

Schedule check-up

*Flu shots and annual wellness appointments are covered (free) by most insurance plans.

Most Providence Urgent Care and ExpressCare locations provide flu shots (when available).*


Find a location and schedule a flu shot
appointment online.


Schedule flu shot

*Visit may be subject to coinsurance. 

Many neighborhood retailers offer flu shots.


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Flu symptoms

Influenza, or the flu, can cause mild to severe illness and be very serious for some people. Common signs of the flu include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

How to prevent the flu

Help reduce your risk for getting the flu, as well as the cold and COVID-19, and slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses:

  • Get your flu shot.
  • Wear a mask in public, especially when you can't maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others.
  • Avoid being around people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes, and dispose of tissues in the trash.
  • Clean frequently used surfaces and objects with disinfectant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to commonly asked questions about the flu are as follows. For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

  • What is influenza, or the flu?

    Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses. These viruses infect the nose, throat and sometimes lungs through tiny respiratory droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. In some cases, a person might get the flu by touching something that has the flu virus on it, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and for some people, can be very serious and life-threatening. The best way to prevent the flu and keep you, your family and friends healthy is by getting a flu shot every year.

  • What should I know about the flu this year?

    While the impact of flu can vary year to year and place to place, it always puts significant burden on the health of people in the U.S. The CDC estimates that since 2010, the flu has resulted in between 9 million and 45 million illnesses, 140,000 to 810,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 61,000 deaths annually.

    This year is different. It’s likely that cold, flu and COVID-19 all will spread this fall and winter, making it more important than ever to get a flu shot. It’s safe, effective and proven to reduce instances and severity of the flu. By getting the flu shot, you’re helping protect yourself and those around you.

  • Is it a cold, the flu or COVID-19?

    While there are some overlapping symptoms of cold, flu and COVID-19, the viruses, infections and illnesses are different. Because it will be difficult to tell them apart, contact your provider to determine what care you may need, including testing.

    • With a cold, you may feel pretty crummy, but the symptoms (e.g., cough, sore throat, fatigue, etc.) are mild in comparison to viruses like the flu and COVID-19. Rest and many over-the-counter medications can help relieve cold symptoms.
    • The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness, with symptoms such as fever, cough and body aches. Most people with the flu don’t need medical care or medication. However, the flu can be very serious for some people and require medical attention. Contact your doctor if your symptoms worsen, are prolonged, or if you’re at high risk of flu-related complications. Testing may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis.
    • COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a new virus. COVID-19 can have varying degrees of symptoms, from none to severe. Symptoms may include fever or chills, severe cough, sore throat and the loss of taste or smell. COVID-19 can cause medical complications, especially in higher-risk groups. At this time, there are no medications or therapeutics to prevent or treat COVID-19. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, learn more about options for screening and receiving care.
  • Will the flu shot protect me against COVID-19?

    No, the flu shot won’t protect you against COVID-19. While many medications and therapeutics are in the works and under close study and review, at this time there is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19. However, the flu shot has many other benefits that help you and those around you stay healthy, especially during a time when the cold, flu and COVID-19 are all likely to spread.

  • What are the benefits of the flu shot?

    The flu shot is proven as safe and effective in helping to reduce flu-related illness and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or death. Getting a flu shot helps to decrease your risk of getting sick and the risk to those around you. And at a time when cold, flu and COVID-19 are all likely to spread in the U.S., reducing the number of flu cases helps health care providers conserve limited resources for those who are very sick.

  • Who should get the flu shot?

    Most people older than six months of age should get a flu shot annually. It’s the best way to protect yourself and those around you from the flu and mild-to-severe flu illness. It’s especially important for those at high risk of developing serious flu complications, including people 65 and older, women who are or will become pregnant, young children and those who are immunosuppressed. Ask your doctor what flu prevention options are best for you, based on your unique health needs.

  • When should I get the flu shot?

    It’s recommended to get your flu shot by the end of October. The flu season in the U.S. typically spikes in October and peaks by February. Flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter, but can circulate year-round.

  • When should I see a doctor?

    Because there are some overlapping symptoms of cold, flu and COVID-19, it will be difficult to tell them apart. Contact your provider to determine what care you may need, including testing. You may need to be seen by a provider virtually or in-person, or get on prescription medication.

    If you’re experiencing a health emergency, call 911 and go to the nearest emergency department.

  • How is the flu treated?

    Most people who get sick with the flu don’t need medical care or medication. Getting extra rest, drinking plenty of fluids and trying over-the-counter medications can help relieve flu symptoms. For some people, including those who are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, prescription medications can help lessen symptoms, shorten the duration of illness and prevent serious flu-related health problems. Ask your doctor what treatment is best for you.

Cold and Flu Resources

Get the latest cold and flu information from Providence experts.