Seasonal Flu Tips
Seasonal flu — the flu that comes year after year — begins in September and lasts into May. Caused by the influenza virus, the flu is a sickness that infects the nose, throat and lungs. Getting a flu shot each fall is the best way to prevent it.
Flu shots are FREE to all CareOregon members. Get a flu shot as soon as possible — everyone ages 6 months and older should receive an annual flu vaccine unless there’s a medical reason not to get one. Check with your primary care provider (PCP) or local pharmacy during the flu season to find out when you and your family can get flu shots.
Where can I get a flu shot?
- Use these resources to find a flu shot provider:
- Flu shot locator
- Oregon Flu Hotline: 800-978-3040
- SafeNet: 503-988-5858, toll-free 800-SAFENET (800-723-3638)
- Members who are 3 and older may get a flu shot from a participating pharmacy. Call your pharmacy to see if they provide flu shots. Take your Member ID card with you, so they know whom to bill.
- Members under age 3 should get a flu shot from their primary care provider.
Is it a cold or the flu?
The flu and the common cold are respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Antibiotics cannot cure a cold or the flu. Cold and flu symptoms are similar.
|Signs and symptoms||Influenza||Cold|
|Fever||Usually high (101-104◦ F), lasting three to four days||Rare or rarely higher than 101◦ F|
|Cough||Common, often dry and intense||Mild|
|Muscle aches||Usual, often severe||Uncommon|
|Tiredness and weakness||May last up to two to three weeks||Very mild and brief|
|Extreme exhaustion||Early and strong||Never|
|Chest discomfort||Common, can become severe||Uncommon or mild|
|Runny or stuffy nose||Less common||Common |
|Sore throat||Less common||Common|
|Stomach symptoms||More common in children than adults||Rare|
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What about antiviral drugs?
Influenza antiviral drugs are prescription drugs that make it harder for flu viruses to reproduce.
Most people recover from the flu without using antivirals. Using them improperly can make things worse by helping the virus develop resistance to drugs. Flu shots are much more effective against the flu.
The U.S. Government has decided that antiviral drugs should be used only for people who have gone to the hospital with the flu, and some who are at highest risk of flu complications. It’s recommended that providers decide on a case-by-case basis — based on the patient's needs and other factors — who should receive these drugs.
More seasonal flu information online
Facts about seasonal flu:
- Key facts about seasonal influenza (flu): CDC (English)
- Flu facts: Datos sobre la gripe (Spanish)
- Top 3 reasons to get your flu vaccine (English PDF file)
- Top 3 reasons to get your flu vaccine (Spanish PDF file)
Vaccine information sheet for inactivated influenza vaccine (seasonal flu shots):
- Other languages are available at immunize.org
Let us help you
Send us a secure message through our Member Portal at careoregon.org/portal or call us at 503-416-4100, toll-free 800-224-4840 or TTY 711. We can help you find a free flu shot nearby.