COVID-19 Information

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Influenza Information

What You Need to Know About Influenza

Avoid the Emergency Department During Flu Season

Once flu season gets underway, Emergency Departments are often even busier than usual. MultiCare and other area health officials encourage anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms to consider alternative care options to the emergency department, unless there are also underlying health conditions. We offer numerous, convenient urgent care and walk-in clinics throughout the Puget Sound and Inland Northwest regions that can take care of patients with the flu, as well as virtual care and house call options.

Other options available in the Puget Sound region:

  • MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care — Sixteen locations throughout the Puget Sound, open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week
  • MultiCare Virtual Care — Online video visits available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • MultiCare eCare  — Online diagnosis and treatment service that connects you with a MultiCare clinician no matter where you are
  • MultiCare Urgent Care Clinics  — Multiple locations throughout the region, including two pediatric-only urgent cares in Gig Harbor and Olympia
  • Immediate Clinic — Walk-in care in Kitsap County and the Seattle area
  • DispatchHealth — Request a home visit from our DispatchHealth house call service available seven days a week in the Tacoma-Pierce County area

Other options available in the Inland Northwest region:

Flu season is upon us. Have you gotten your flu shot yet?

Get a Flu Shot Every Year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year for two reasons:

  1. There are many different flu viruses and the viruses are constantly changing, so flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and most commonly circulating viruses.
  2. A person's immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so annual vaccination is needed for optimal protection.

It's especially important that the following groups get vaccinated, either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:

  • Health care workers
  • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
  • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

For a complete list of all people recommended for flu vaccination, as well as those who are not recommended for flu vaccination, visit Who Should Get Vaccinated.

Keeping our MultiCare Hospitals Influenza Free*

While flu activity usually peaks in January or February, flu cycles can be unpredictable. With this in mind, beginning December 15, daily wellness screening will be done for family and visitors entering our OB, Pediatric and High Risk Nursery areas (NICU, ICN, SCN). Family and visitors who have symptoms of illness will be asked not to visit. In the NICU, ICN, SCN, children under age 14 will be asked not to visit.

The most effective way to protect our most vulnerable patients is to limit the total number of visitors coming and going from the unit and to ensure that these individuals are free of symptoms that could represent a communicable infection.

In addition, if you have any of the following symptoms, please do not visit any of our patient care areas: 

  • Fever above 100.4 degrees
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches or extreme fatigue
  • Chills
  • Vomiting, nausea or diarrhea

Young children are especially likely to get sick from the flu and other illnesses, and though it may take several days for them to show symptoms, they can easily pass the virus to others, including our most vulnerable patients.

Thank you for your assistance in keeping our patients, visitors and staff healthy and safe.

*Depending on the severity of the flu season, we may also implement additional screenings or visitor restrictions, to help protect our patients.