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You’re Not You, When You Have the Flu!

Flu Shot Clinics

Cotton O’Neil physicians recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu immunization.  Established Cotton O’Neil patients can receive flu shots through primary care and heart center scheduled appointments, at the Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy and select express care locations. The general public may obtain at the Stormont Vail pharmacy by appointment or at the select express care locations.

Upcoming Flu Clinics for Cotton O’Neil Clinic Patients

If you receive your flu shot at work or anywhere other than a Cotton O’Neil Clinic, please let your doctor’s office know via MyChart or a phone call so we can update your record. You must be a Cotton O’Neil patient unless specified otherwise. The flu vaccine will be available starting on September 8th in your provider’s office.

Drive-Thru Flu Clinic – The 2020 drive-thru clinic is now over, please be sure to check out the many other places still giving flu shots.

Heart Center

Flu shots will be available for patients during scheduled visits with their provider. Eligible family members accompanying the patient may also receive their flu shot at that time.

  • Established Cotton O’Neil Patients only
  • Must be age 19 years or older
  • Need Appointment

Primary Care

Flu shots will be available for patients during their scheduled visits. Eligible family members accompanying the patient may also receive their flu shot at that time.

  • Established Cotton O’Neil Patients only
  • Must be age 6 months or older
  • Need Appointment

 Stormont Vail Retail Pharmacy  (2252 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66604)

Flu shots for all eligible members within the community.  Please call 785-235-8796 to schedule an appointment.

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Do not have to be a Cotton O’Neil Patient
  • Must be age 6 years or older
  • Call 785-235-8796 to schedule an appointment.

Express Care

Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Walk-in flu vaccines are available at select Cotton O’Neil Express Care locations.

  • Do not have to be a Cotton O’Neil patient
  • Must be age 6 months or older
  • No appointment necessary, Walk-In clinic

Cotton O’Neil Express Care Urish, 6725 S.W. 29th Street

Cotton O’Neil Express Care Croco, 2909 S.E. Walnut Drive


Flu FAQs

When people refer to the flu, they’re usually talking about seasonal influenza — a contagious respiratory virus whose symptoms are sometimes confused with the common cold.

Some flu cases are mild. But others can lead to serious — possibly even deadly — complications. Regardless of severity, one thing is true: the best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu vaccine each year.

The cold and the flu have several symptoms in common, such as:

  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Chest discomfort
  • Cough

But one of the telltale differences between the seasonal flu and the common cold is how quickly symptoms develop: Flu symptoms tend to hit you all at once, while cold symptoms tend to develop more gradually. Cold symptoms are also usually milder than flu symptoms.

Other key differences include:

  • Fever: more common flu symptom
  • Chills: more common flu symptom
  • Aches: more common flu symptom
  • Headache: more common flu symptom
  • Runny or stuffy nose: more common cold symptom

The main way the flu virus spreads is through droplets released when a sick person talks, sneezes, or coughs.

What makes the flu so contagious, however, is the fact that the virus can spread from an infected person to a healthy person before the infected person starts to show symptoms. In other words, you can have the flu but not yet know it — and spread it to others accidentally.

And, once you start to show symptoms, you may still be contagious up to a week after first contracting the flu.

Some people have a higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications, such as pneumonia. People considered high-risk include:

  • Children younger than 5 — and especially children younger than 2
  • Adults age 65 and over
  • Pregnant women and women who are up to 2 weeks postpartum
  • Nursing home and long-term care facility residents
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives

Some medical conditions can also increase your risk of complications from the flu, including:

As with most contagious illnesses, people with weakened immune systems — such as those who have had an organ transplant or are undergoing chemotherapy — are also at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu.

Most of the time, the seasonal flu isn’t something that warrants a visit to your health care provider. However, if you are considered high-risk for flu complications, you should see your provider as soon as you notice flu symptoms — especially within the first 48 hours. They may be able to prescribe antiviral medications to shorten the length of your illness and lower your risk of complications.

It’s easy to spread the flu because it is so contagious. But there are simple steps you can take to prevent the spread of the flu, including:

  • Avoiding contact with people who have the flu — or avoiding contact with others if you are the one with the flu
  • Staying home from school or work if you have the flu
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Keeping your hands clean by washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Keeping your home, office, etc. clean and disinfected
  • Getting the flu vaccine each year

The flu vaccine protects your body against the flu by signaling your immune system to build antibodies that fight against infection. It usually takes about 2 weeks for these antibodies to build up after getting the vaccine.

There are several different types of flu vaccines available, and each year they are developed to protect against different strains of the flu. There are two main differences between the various types of flu shots:

The first difference has to do with the number of flu viruses the vaccine protects against (typically 3 or 4, called trivalent or quadrivalent, respectively). The second difference is based on how the inactivated flu viruses in the vaccine were developed (egg-based, cell-based, or protein-based).

Regardless of the type, the flu vaccine does not contain a live version of the flu. In other words: the flu usually do not cause the flu.

  • You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. The inactivated version of the virus in the vaccine is specifically developed to not be infectious.
  • The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women — and can protect both mother and baby before and after birth.
  • Getting the flu vaccine can help lower the rate of hospitalization for people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.
  • While the flu vaccine is intended to prevent you from getting sick, it can also decrease the severity of your illness if you end up getting the flu.
  • Getting vaccinated against the flu helps protect people around you from getting the flu — especially people who cannot get vaccinated themselves.

The flu vaccine is recommended for most people age 6 months or older, including women who are pregnant as well as people who have chronic health conditions. The specific type of vaccine that is right for you may vary depending on your age and overall health. Your health care provider can help determine which is best.

While most people can get the flu vaccine safely, people who should not get the flu vaccine include:

You should talk to your health care provider before getting the flu shot if you:

  • Have an allergy to eggs or any other ingredients in the vaccine
  • Have ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Are not feeling well at the time you are trying to get your vaccine

While you can technically contract the flu year-round, it is more common in the fall and winter. Cases of the flu tend to begin to increase in October and peak sometime between December and February.

Because flu season typically begins in the fall, early fall is the best time to get vaccinated. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October. However, you can still get vaccinated later in the flu season — even into the winter.