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Suffering From The Flu? You Can Avoid The ER

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Photo by Brittany Colette

Flu activity is now “elevated” in Washington state according to the Washington State Department of Health, with 17 influenza deaths reported statewide so far this flu season.

During peak flu season (December – March), waiting times at emergency departments typically increase. MultiCare offers a variety of care options for flu depending on the severity of a patient’s symptoms.


“Some people seek care for the flu at hospital emergency rooms, which is generally not the most efficient or affordable,” said Dr. Mark Mariani, a physician executive with MultiCare’s Retail Health division. “Most people can be treated quickly through their primary care doctors, urgent care clinics, online virtual visits or our new house call service.”

MultiCare clinics can assess symptoms, determine the best path for treatment and get patients on their way quickly while helping emergency departments stay focused on more severe cases.

Options for care

  • Schedule a same-day appointment at your MultiCare primary care physician office.
  • Drop in (or schedule ahead online) to any of our 48 Washington Urgent Cares, Immediate Clinics and Indigo clinics – open seven days a week.
  • Visit the MultiCare Virtual Care website for an online video visit or e-visit with a doctor, seven days a week.
  • NEW: Request a home visit from our new DispatchHealth house call service – available seven days a week in the Tacoma-Pierce County area. We accept all major health insurance in Washington state. Request care online or call us at 253-271-9720.

Protect against flu

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Photo by Ani Kolleshi

The best protections are frequent handwashing and getting a flu shot. The flu vaccine can reduce the risk of flu by about 50–60 percent and it is effective as long as flu viruses are circulating.

Everyone older than 6 months old should get the flu shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), particularly those at higher risk:

  • Children younger than 5 but especially younger than 2
  • Adults 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Native Americans
  • People with certain medical conditions

Where to get flu shots

MultiCare offers flu shots for adults and children at many locations throughout the Puget Sound region. Make an appointment with your primary care provider, pediatric provider, or visit one of our walk-in clinics:

flu shot, multicare, flu, injection
Photo by Hyttalo Souza
  • MultiCare Immunization Clinic at South Hill Mall
  • Mary Bridge Mobile Immunization Clinic (for children 18 and under)
  • Immediate Clinics (vaccines are for patients 9 years and older)
  • MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care clinics (vaccines are for patients 19 and older)

If you get a flu shot at a retail pharmacy, make sure to let your primary care doctor know so that it can be added to your medical record.

Auburn Examiner Note: Kate got her flu shot at a Kaiser clinic at Bartells, you can get your flu shot anywhere – just please get it!


Additional protections against flu:

  • Avoid crowded places and close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your eyes and nose, as this is how flu viruses spread.

Flu symptoms

Typically, flu symptoms develop quickly and can include:

  • high fever

    flu, multicare, cold, sick, health and wellness, sick in bed
    Photo by Kinga Cichewicz
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • nausea or vomiting

If you get the flu, take steps to feel better:

  • Stay home and rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Treat fever and cough with over-the-counter medications for comfort.
  • Avoid close contact with family members so you don’t pass on the illness.

If symptoms don’t improve, seek care. Seek care promptly if:

  • You have a cough, fever or other flu symptoms that don’t improve.
  • You are pregnant, over age 65, or otherwise at high risk of flu-related complications.

More serious signs of a significant flu infection include difficulty breathing, inability to drink enough fluids and irritability in children. Seek treatment immediately if any of these signs are present.

About MultiCare

MultiCare Health System is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 16,000 employees and a comprehensive system of health including numerous primary care, urgent care and specialty services — including Immediate Clinic, MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care and Pulse Heart Institute — MultiCare Medical Associates, Navos Mental Health Solutions, affiliated physicians and a wide range of community outreach programs. Eight hospitals complete our organization: Allenmore Hospital, Auburn Medical Center, Covington Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Deaconess Hospital, Valley Hospital, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital — the region’s only children’s hospital and state-designated Level II Pediatric Trauma Center for Western Washington — and Tacoma General Hospital, which is home to the region’s only Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.


The above is a press release from MultiCare Health System.  The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents.



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