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As we approach winter, preventing viral illness, including the flu, becomes a top priority. More than just a bad cold, the flu is a serious illness, but can be prevented. The best defense against the flu is to be proactive with preventive strategies.

Our hospital and doctor offices are open.

You can contact us like you would during any other time so we can help determine your next steps for care. You can also reach us by:

Our emergency room remains available 24/7 for life-threatening issues, and our urgent care locations and outpatient offices continue to be fully staffed and open for all patients.

The flu and COVID-19 are very similar, which is going to make this flu season especially challenging, so it's important to know the difference.

If you develop overlapping symptoms of flu and COVID-19, it is important to recognize early that you could have either illness.

If you have symptoms

  • Most people who get the flu develop symptoms within four days of infection, and those symptoms usually resolve within two weeks.
  • If your symptoms do not improve, or you are feeling worse, you should first contact your doctor to arrange testing for COVID-19 and potentially influenza, as well.
  • Learn more about when to go to the ER for flu.

How to protect yourself

  • Get vaccinated at the start of flu season, which typically starts in the late fall. The single best thing you can do to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot.
  • Be vigilant about hand-washing. Wash your hands with soap and water, scrubbing the front and back of your hands as well as underneath the nails. A standard washing regimen should take 20-30 seconds, about as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday." No soap or water? Use hand sanitizer until you can get to a sink.
  • Stay home if you’re sick. If you catch the flu, stay away from people for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides and drink plenty of fluids. The flu is usually contagious for about a week after the onset of symptoms. Consider wearing a respiratory mask in places where masking is not already required.
  • Learn more about how to prepare your family for flu season.


  • The flu vaccine is safe and well-studied. It may prevent flu, or if someone who had the vaccine does get sick, their illness is likely to be milder than those without the vaccine's protection.
  • Children 6 months and older should have a flu shot at their doctor's office.
  • Because influenza viruses and coronaviruses are different, a flu shot won't protect against COVID-19. However, it is the best way to protect yourself and your community this cold and flu season. It’s safe to get vaccinated for flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

Planning Your Visit To Cedars-Sinai
  • Your procedure: If you have an appointment scheduled for a medical office visit or imaging appointment, please review our current policies.
  • Your surgery: For scheduled surgeries, please review our current policies for surgery.
  • Visitor policy: We continue to evaluate our visitor policy to allow people to safely visit their loved ones.