Make flu prevention a priority

The flu shot is an important tool in keeping you healthy and safe each fall and winter. When you get the flu vaccine, you don’t only protect yourself from serious illness. You also help lower the spread of the flu, which protects many vulnerable people in your community.

Advocate Health Care offers flu shots and other routine vaccines in multiple convenient locations throughout the Chicago metro area. We help keep you, your family and our community safe and healthy.

What is the flu vaccine?

The influenza vaccine, or flu vaccine, is an immunization to lower your risk of catching the influenza virus. It also helps lower your chances of severe illness if you do get the flu. It helps protect yourself and others, especially children, older adults and immunocompromised people. Most flu vaccines are given as a shot, but you may also get a nasal spray vaccine.

The flu shot is an injection delivered with a needle. It’s usually given through your deltoid muscle, the muscle in your upper arm.

Most children and adults over 6 months old are candidates for the flu shot. You should not get the flu shot if you have:

  • History of Gullain-Barré syndrome
  • Moderate to severe fever
  • Past allergic reactions to vaccine ingredients, including severe egg allergies

You may be a candidate for the recombinant flu shot (Flublok®) if you are over 18 and allergic to eggs.

The nasal spray flu vaccine is an option for most people ages 2 to 49 who are not pregnant or immunocompromised. You may ask your health care provider if the nasal spray vaccine is right for you.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

Everyone 6 months or older, with a few rare exceptions, should get the flu vaccine every year. Your doctor will tell you if you aren’t a candidate for the flu vaccine.

How to schedule your flu shot

Scheduling your flu shot is easy. Make your appointment in LiveWell, online or by calling our flu shot hotline.



Schedule your flu shot in a streamlined mobile app and online experience.

Schedule in LiveWell


Schedule your flu shot online near you.



Call our flu shot hotline to schedule at a location near you.

Call 866-443-2584

Does the flu vaccine protect me right away?

It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to protect against the flu virus. That’s why getting the vaccine before the peak of flu season provides the most benefits.

When should I get the flu shot?

You should schedule your flu shot shortly before the start of flu season. In the U.S., flu season starts around October and is most rampant between December and February. Getting your vaccine in October or November helps protect yourself and others during flu season.

You can still get the flu shot when you have a mild cold. If you are contagious, you may want to wait a few days to visit the clinic to avoid spreading the infection to others. But getting the flu shot while you have a cold doesn’t alter the shot’s effectiveness. However, you shouldn’t get the flu shot if you have a fever.

Scientists update the flu vaccine every year to help protect you against the newest strains of the influenza virus. Getting the vaccine annually helps ensure you receive the most effective protection available. Plus, your body’s immunity declines over time, so an annual shot is the best way to ensure you have the most protection.

How long does the flu shot last?

The protective effects of the flu shot tend to last around six months, beginning two weeks after you receive the vaccination. The flu shot provides effective protection throughout a flu season, but you will need an updated shot each year.

What are the side effects of the flu shot?

Many people experience no side effects from the flu shot. If you do have any side effects, they usually don’t last more than 24 to 48 hours. You may have:

  • Fatigue
  • Mild fever
  • Minor headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Redness, soreness or swelling at the injection site

You may feel slightly under the weather after the flu shot. But it’s important to understand that the vaccine doesn’t give you a cold or the flu. Instead, your symptoms are due to your body building up an immune response to the flu.

You may feel tired for one or two days after the flu shot. Call your doctor if you experience any side effects that last longer than 48 hours.

Over-the-counter and home remedies can help relieve side effects of the flu shot.

  • Apply a cold compress to your arm to reduce swelling or soreness
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids
  • Eat nutritious foods
  • Rest as much as needed
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever

Flu shot cost

Most insurance plans cover flu shots with no out-of-pocket costs. Some clinics and pharmacies also provide flu shots for free. Our team can help you understand your out-of-pocket costs and options without insurance. Learn more about pricing and financial assistance.

Where to get the flu shot

You can get your flu shot at multiple convenient locations throughout the Chicago metro area. We offer flu shots in our primary care offices and at our vaccine centers.

Get care

We help you live well. And we’re here for you in person and online.