This winter, protect yourself and your family against COVID-19, influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The following resources are intended to help you safeguard yourself and your family, identify symptoms, and seek care if needed.
The good news is that many of the same behaviors can help protect people from all three viruses, plus many others that may be circulating and have similar symptoms.
Influenza (flu) is a respiratory illness that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. People 65 years and older, young children, pregnant people, and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu infection.
How it spreads: Flu can spread by breathing in droplets carrying virus from an infected person when they cough, sneeze, or talk. Flu may also spread by people touching a contaminated surface or object that has flu virus on it, then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
Treatment: Flu can be treated with antiviral drugs your doctor can prescribe when illness is caught early.
Flu vaccines (shots) for patients are available as a part of a scheduled visit with your primary care team, or as a scheduled flu vaccine appointment at a Flu Clinic (see details below). Please note:
Virginia Mason Flu Clinic Details (by appointment only)
At this time, Flu Clinic appointments are only being offered at the following Virginia Mason locations by appointment only.
COVID-19 is still circulating in communities and can still cause serious illness, hospitalization, and death.
People with certain medical conditions are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Everyone should prepare for potential increases through the fall and winter and take preventive action to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19.
How it spreads: COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. Learn how COVID-19 spreads and the factors that make risk of spread higher or lower.
Treatment: If you or a loved one have a fever, cough or any other symptoms associated with COVID-19 or were exposed to someone with COVID-19, we recommend that you schedule a Virginia Mason Franciscan Health virtual urgent care visit today, visit one of our Prompt Care or Urgent Care Clinics, or contact your Primary Care Provider to be assessed for COVID-19.
We no longer provide COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic patients who require COVID-19 testing for travel or work at our Prompt and Urgent Care locations. Those patients will be referred to their primary care provider or their local community COVID-19 testing sites (including Walgreens and CVS). COVID-19 testing is available at most of our primary and specialty care clinics by appointment. Please call ahead for more details.
If you test positive for COVID-19, treatments are available and should be taken early. The FDA has authorized certain antiviral medications to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in people who are more likely to get very sick.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that usually causes mild cold-like symptoms like cough, runny nose, and low-grade fever. It can also cause wheezing. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially in babies and children under 5 years old and in older adults. Severe infections can include bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) or pneumonia (infection of the lungs). RSV can also worsen conditions like asthma.
How it spreads: RSV can be spread through coughs, sneezes, direct contact with the virus (like kissing the face of a child with RSV),and touching contaminated surfaces.
Treatment: While there’s no specific treatment for RSV infection, you can take over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen to relieve symptoms. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Talk to your healthcare provider before giving your child nonprescription cold medicines. Call your healthcare provider or visit one of our Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Urgent Care clinics if you or your child is having difficulty breathing, not drinking enough fluids, or experiencing worsening symptoms.