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Flu Causes & Prevention

The flu is a contagious illness caused by influenza viruses. It's more common in the fall and winter. It's spread through tiny droplets when someone with the flu coughs, sneezes or talks. You can become infected when you inhale these viruses directly. You can also become infected when you touch a surface on which the droplets have landed and then transfer the germs to your eyes, nose or mouth. Touching used tissues or sharing utensils, drinking glasses or a toothbrush from an infected person can expose you to flu viruses as well.

Unlike a cold, the flu can make you very ill. It can even lead to pneumonia, a serious lung infection. The flu can have serious complications and even cause death. Prevention is key. The best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine each year. Other ways to help prevent this virus include:

  • Washing your hands often, using warm water and plenty of soap
  • Staying away from people with the flu
  • Carrying an alcohol-based hand gel containing at least 60 percent alcohol to use when you can't use soap and water
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Cleaning phones, computer keyboards, toys, doorknobs and other objects you touch frequently with disinfectant wipes

Flu Care

To help ease flu symptoms, you should drink lots of fluids such as water, juice and warm soup. You should also be sure to get plenty of rest. Ask your health care provider what to take for fever and pain. Call your provider if your fever is 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or you become dizzy, lightheaded or short of breath.

The flu usually gets better after seven days or so. In some cases, your health care provider may prescribe an antiviral medicine. This may help you get well a little sooner. For the medicine to help, you need to take it as soon as possible (ideally within 48 hours) after your symptoms start. If you develop pneumonia or other serious illness, you may need to stay in the hospital.

Take Steps to Protect Others

If you have the flu, it's important to try to keep the virus from spreading further. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Wash your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands
  • Stay home until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or chills
  • Don't share food, utensils or drinking glasses with others
  • Ask your doctor if others in your household should take an antiviral medicine to help them prevent infection

Get the Right Care, Right Now

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Virtual Visits


Virtual Visits offer care at your fingertips for common conditions, such as:

  • Cold and flu
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Rash
  • Allergies
  • Bug bites

Start Your Visit

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Primary Care


Your first line of defense in managing overall health, our clinics offer same-day appointments for many conditions. We're welcoming new patients, so give us a call at 417-269-INFO.

Find a Physician

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Walk-In Clinics


Receive treatment for minor illnesses and injuries and routine care, including:

  • Cold and flu
  • Allergies
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sports Physicals

You can also get orthopedic and sports injuries treatments like concussions, dislocations and fractures.

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Urgent Care


Access immediate care for conditions that are not life-threatening:

  • Fever
  • Fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Urine, flu and strep testing
  • X-ray
  • Conditions treated by primary care providers, Virtual Visits and Walk-In Clinics 

Save Your Spot

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Urgent Care Plus


We have dedicated pediatric and adult centers.

We provide immediate care for all conditions treated at our Urgent Care facilities, as well as:

  • Abdominal pain (patients under 60 years of age)
  • Injuries or conditions requiring CT and ultrasound
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Save Your Spot

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Emergency Room


Visit our emergency department if you are experiencing any of these serious and life-threatening conditions:

  • Heart issues, including irregular heart rate
  • Stroke-like symptoms
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood
  • High fever with stiff neck, mental confusion or difficulty breathing
  • Major trauma
  • Behavioral issues requiring admission

Get Directions to the ER