Don’t Get the Holiday Flu Blues

Ahhh, the holidays. We celebrate the season by giving gifts and sharing time with family and friends. But there’s one thing you don’t want your loved ones to share — the flu.

You may travel to several homes near or far to join holiday celebrations, creating the perfect environment for the spreading the flu virus. But just how far can a microscopic virus travel?

Let’s say Aunt Sally is flying from Houston to Detroit to visit family for the holidays. Although she shows no symptoms yet, she actually has the flu virus. She visits family and greets them with hugs and kisses and they sit down to eat together. Aunt Sally is careful to blow her nose in a tissue throughout the evening, but she forgets to wash her hands frequently. She then hands out gifts and receives hugs from the children. She starts feeling a little tired, but she brushes it aside.

After she begins to feel feverish, she cuts the visit short.  But unfortunately, it’s too late. Without ever intending on it, Aunt Sally may have spread the virus to everyone she came in contact with. It’s unfortunate, but there was nothing she could do, right?

Wrong.

If Aunt Sally had her flu shot, she may have never gotten sick. And if all of the other passengers on her plane, people she interacted with at the airport and family members had the flu shot, they might not have caught the flu from her. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that, on average, less than half of the U.S. population receive the flu shot each year, the odds are Sally’s trip to Detroit may have contributed to many people feeling the holiday flu blues.

The moral of our story: The flu shot is your — and your loved ones — best protection against the flu virus this holiday season. And it’s not too late to get one.

Most Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and all Blue Care Network members can receive their flu shot at no extra cost. Check your benefits to verify if you’ll need to pay anything out of pocket. To find out more, go to bcbsm.com/preventflu.

Photo credit: Eduardo Merille

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