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Flu and you: An update for U-M patients and visitors

Vaccine still available, everyone must work to prevent the spread of flu

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – This year’s flu outbreak has hit early and hard, surprising many people who didn’t get vaccinated in the fall.

As the number of cases of flu continues to rise, the University of Michigan Health System offers this information on our response, and our advice to our patients and visitors.

It’s not too late to vaccinate!

We have plenty of flu vaccine, and anyone who sees a U-M or nurse practitioner for primary or ongoing specialty care can get vaccinated here.

  • If you have an appointment for yourself or your child coming up in January, ask for the vaccine when you’re here. (For specialty services, you may want to check ahead to see if the clinic has adequate supply.)
  • If you don’t already have an appointment, we have opened vaccination-only appointments in several of our primary care health centers. Call the number for your usual primary care provider to schedule an appointment.
  • If you’d like to hold a vaccination clinic at your business or organization, visit   to learn about our Michigan Visiting Nurses immunization service.

More information about flu shots for our patients is at


We’re working to protect you

If you come to UMHS for any type of care, or your loved one does, you can rest assured that the vast majority of staff members you will encounter have been vaccinated against the flu. You may see some staff wearing masks because they have chosen that option instead of vaccination.

By requiring one or the other, we’re working to reduce the chance that our staff will spread flu to patients and visitors.

Patients who have flu-like symptoms may also notice that their care providers may wear disposable protective gear, such as masks, gowns and faceshields, during certain exams and procedures. This helps them avoid spreading flu to their other patients.


You can help us protect all our patients

At UMHS, we care for some of the most vulnerable patients in the country. For them, the flu can be deadly.

If you’re coming to any of our facilities, please help us protect all our patients from exposure to flu while they’re here. Here’s how:

  • Ask for a mask if you are coming to our emergency departments, hospitals or health centers because you think you have the flu.
  • If you’re bringing someone for an appointment/procedure, or hoping to visit someone in the hospital, and you have flu-like symptoms, please consider alternatives such as having another person bring the patient, or calling the patient’s room. If you must come, ask for a mask when you arrive and wear it.
  • If you’ve been around people who have flu-like symptoms, please consider wearing a mask while you’re at our facilities – even if you don’t feel sick. If you’re hoping to visit a patient, please consider calling instead.  You may have the flu for a day before the symptoms start.


Follow these common-sense tips to prevent the spread of flu

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • If you do not have a tissue, cough into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing, with soap and water, or with sanitizer. Soap and water is best.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • If you develop a fever or cough, stay home from work, school or other public settings until the fever is gone (without medicine), and the cough is under control.


For more about the symptoms of flu, and treatment, see

For more about what parents should know about the flu and other diseases affecting children at this time of year, see this Mott Hospital blog story.

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