Managing Flu-Like Illnesses

Flu Vaccine Information

Vaccines lower your chances of getting and spreading certain infections. Vaccines are licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and tracked continually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA for safety. This year, it is more important than ever to protect yourself, your family, and your community from the flu. Getting a flu vaccine this season may contribute to keeping a larger portion of the population healthy this year. This is particularly important as our health systems continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The flu virus changes every year. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three or four influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Some flu shots are licensed specifically for people 65 and older to create a stronger immune response.

Where Can You Get Your Flu Vaccine?

If you have an appointment scheduled with your primary care provider this fall, you can receive your flu shot during your visit. Flu shots are also available without a prescription at many local pharmacies. Contact your nearest pharmacy for more information.

In order to keep our patients and staff as safe as possible, we ask that you wear a mask when entering the practice and throughout the duration of your visit.

Influenza-Like Illness Testing & Treatment

To help our patients get in-person care for illnesses like influenza, COVID-19, and other acute upper respiratory symptoms, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) has opened an Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) clinic. The ILI clinic, staffed by our pulmonary specialists, offers urgent appointments that include both testing and treatment for influenza, COVID-19, and similar acute illnesses. For patients with mild to moderate symptoms, the ILI clinic is a better alternative than coming to the emergency room.

If you have any of the symptoms listed below, please contact your primary care physician and they will discuss scheduling you directly into the ILI clinic.

  • Fever (>100.4 deg F) or feeling feverish
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Cough (new or worsening)
  • Shortness of breath (new or worsening)
  • Diarrhea (new or worsening)
  • Loss of smell or taste

As a reminder, please contact your provider early on in your illness, as treatments may be less effective or unavailable later in the course of the illness.