Cold and flu season has arrived. Emergency rooms are packed these days, already starting to see flu-like symptoms. And visits to our online clinic have increased over the past few weeks.

The best way to avoid getting sick is to stay away from sick people. But what if you need to visit your doctor? Can the waiting room make you sicker?

“You can certainly be exposed to germs while sitting in a waiting room, but this is also true of standing in line at the grocery store, going to the movies or really any public place. Especially this time of year,” explained Gwen Verchota, lead nurse practitioner for Virtuwell is our 24/7 online clinic.

She continued, “There are steps you can take to protect yourself this cold and flu season. First and foremost, get a flu shot. Wash your hands, and often. If you have to go to the doctor, bring your own books and magazines, and toys if you have small children.”

If you do think you’re coming down with something, here are a few tips to get treatment fast – and to stop spreading the germy love with others.

  1. Review this cold versus flu check list. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help you figure out what, if any, treatment you might need.
  2. Consider online care. Online clinics like Virtuwell can give you a treatment plan, and prescriptions like Tamiflu if needed. All you need is a computer, tablet or smartphone.
  3. Stay home and get plenty of rest. According to the CDC, if you are sick with flu–like illness, it’s best to stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities.

If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, there’s still time. You can visit any of these locations:

Home with the flu? Stay in bed and enjoy the convenience of online care: