COVID-19 isn’t the only virus to worry about: Flu season is upon us. As with COVID, the best way to protect yourself and others against the flu is to be vaccinated. And with flu vaccines now available at pharmacies around the area, it’s easy to work vaccination into your schedule. You can even get the shot while you shop.

According to vaccines.gov, flu shots are available by appointment at

  • CVS stores in Athens and Logan
  • Rite-Aid in The Plains
  • Kroger stores in Athens, Nelsonville, Trimble and Logan
  • Walmart stores in Athens and Logan.

Shots at these locations are usually billed to your health insurance provider. 

Ohio University students on the Athens campus can get flu shots by appointment at OhioHealth Campus Care, near the Campus Green on 2 Church Street. The clinic is open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday; to make an appointment, call 740-592-7100 or 740-592-7176. The cost of the vaccine is billed to the student’s health insurance, so students should make sure that OhioHealth is an in-network provider before scheduling an appointment.

Veterans can be inoculated against seasonal flu or the coronavirus without leaving their cars at the Chillicothe VA and VA community clinics. Drive-thru vaccination clinics will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chillicothe VA Oct. 12–15, Nov. 8–10 and Nov. 12. Those using the drive-thru clinics must wear a mask as well as clothes that allow the upper arm to be bare for the injection.  

The Athens City-County Health Department will offer free flu shots from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, at the health department on West Union Street in Athens. You also can schedule a free flu shot by calling 740-592-4431.

Find a local provider of flu or COVID-19 shots at www.vaccines.gov/find-vaccines/.

If you have a regular checkup or other appointment with a healthcare provider, you can ask for a flu shot while you’re there.

Many of the symptoms of seasonal flu are identical to those of COVID-19: fever or chills, body or muscle aches, headache, cough, sore throat or a runny or stuffy nose. COVID-19 symptoms also include nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and a new loss of taste or smell. Gastrointestinal issues and loss of taste or smell are not generally associated with seasonal flu.

The only way to tell if your symptoms are from the flu or a coronavirus infection is to be tested.

Regardless of cause, anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay home and rest. Get plenty of fluids; use medication to reduce fever as advised by your healthcare provider.

If you have the flu, your healthcare provider can prescribe antiviral medication to lessen symptoms — but these work only if taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Four antiviral medications — oseltamivir phosphate (Tamil), zanamivir (Relenza), peramivir (Rapivab) and baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza) — are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for seasonal flu.

The FDA has approved only one antiviral medication — remdesivir — for COVID-19, and it is prescribed only to those who have been hospitalized with the disease. The FDA offers information about remdesivir and other COVID-19 treatment options on its website.

You can lessen your chances of getting sick with the flu, COVID and other viruses by

  • Getting vaccinated against the flu or COVID (alas, no vaccines exist to prevent the common cold)
  • Wearing a well-fitting, tightly woven mask when indoors and outdoors when in a crowd or standing in line
  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (use a tissue or cough/sneeze into your elbow)
  • Regularly disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as light switches, door handles, faucets, keyboards and phones
  • Practicing good health habits in general: don’t smoke, eat lots of produce, exercise regularly and get adequate sleep

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