Flu season is easy to miss, especially with media coverage focused on COVID-19. Influenza or “seasonal flu” is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization, or even death.
Where can I get my flu vaccine?
GHC-SCW is getting ready to provide our members with flu vaccinations this fall! The FDA has recently approved the use of bivalent forms of the Moderna and the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccines for use as a single booster dose at least two months following primary series or booster vaccination(s). With this news coming during the peak time for flu vaccinations, we encourage members to get both vaccines as soon as they become available!
As a GHC-SCW member, you have several options to get your flu vaccine:
At your Primary Clinic
- This includes GHC-SCW clinics, UW-Health primary care clinics and Regional Primary Care Clinics.
- In an effort to keep members as safe as possible, flu vaccine walk-ins will not be accepted at any GHC-SCW clinics this year.
At a GHC-SCW Vaccination Clinic
- This year, GHC-SCW will be offering three separate vaccine clinics held at our administration offices in Madison, WI located at 1265 John Q Hammons Dr. With the recent news of the bivalent COVID-19 booster, we will also be offering the booster at these clinics to those who are eligible.
- Scheduling is currently closed and we currently do not have any availability at these clinics. Please continue to check back for any updates or openings.
At Costco or Hy-Vee
- This year, we are partnering with both Hy-Vee and Costco! ALL flu vaccinations will be covered at Costco or Hy-Vee with no out-of-pocket costs for members. Vaccines received at Costco or Hy-Vee do not require an appointment but appointments are recommended.
- If you are eligible, you may also get your COVID-19 bivalent booster at any Costco or Hy-Vee location. Just be sure to tell your pharmacist when you arrive.
- You can visit Costco's website here and Hyvee's website here for more information on pharmacy hours and locations.
Flu vaccination costs will also be covered if your flu vaccine is receive at a GHC-SCW employer group scheduled vaccine clinic through VaxPro or Hyvee. Flu vaccines received at other Navitus Pharmacy locations are not covered this year.
When is flu season?
While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Typically, we will see most flu cases between December and February, but sometimes we can see high flu activity all the way into May!
Because of its timing, flu can quickly spread through schools, the workplace, and events. This makes it essential to be vigilant by monitoring your symptoms, taking care of yourself, and doing your part to prevent the spread of the flu.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
The flu can come on suddenly and includes symptoms such as:
Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Some may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Is there a difference between the flu and a cold?
Influenza (flu) and the common cold are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but different viruses cause them.
Because colds and the flu share many symptoms, it can be tricky (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. This makes it especially important if you think you may have the flu to get in touch with your primary care provider (PCP) and figure out your best options for testing and care.
What is the difference between RSV, the flu, and COVID-19?
With the symptoms of RSV, the flu, and COVID-19 being so similar it can be hard to understand what virus you have and kind of treatment you may need. Use the table here to understand your treatment and testing options.
What can I do to protect myself from the flu?
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Flu vaccines are our best tool in our fight against flu season and it's important to get your yearly vaccination as the flu virus can change from year to year.
- Stay tuned for more information on flu vaccines as the flu season gets closer!
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
- Cover you mouth and nose when you cough/sneeze.
- Reguarly disinfect high touch surfaces such as doorknobs.
- Stay home if you feel sick!
I think I might have the flu, what should I do?
If you think you might have the flu, you have a variety of options available of you to get care as a GHC-SCW member.
You can call the 24/7 GHC NurseConnect hotline at (608) 661-7350 or toll-free at (855) 661-7350.
From there, you can receive advice on how to proceed with care and potential testing.
GHC Care OnDemand
GHC Care OnDemand doctors are available 24/7/365.*
That means you can get a prescription or a virtual exam after hours, middle of the night, on the weekends or even on holidays, ensuring you have access to care all flu season long!
*Restrictions or limitations apply for members with BadgerCare Plus, Medicare or HSAs.
When the flu finds you, you can find relief quickly with virtuwell.
You can get a diagnosis and prescription in just a few minutes with virtuwell, your 24/7 online clinic.*
*All GHC-SCW HMO and PPO members that reside in AZ, CA, CO, CT, IA, MI, MN, ND, NY, PA, SD, VA and WI get free virtuwell® visits. Badgercare Plus and Medicare Select members cannot use virtuwell.