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.

When visiting friends and family, we’re creating the perfect environment for 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 now, she 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 doesn’t wash her hands frequently. She then hands out gifts and receives hugs from the children. She then starts feeling a little tired, but brushes it aside.

After she begins to feel feverish, she cuts the visit short. Unfortunately, it’s too late. Without ever intending on it, Aunt Sally may have spread the virus to everyone she encountered. 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 the passengers on her plane, people she interacted with at the airport and family members had the flu shot, they might not be facing the current risk of catching the flu. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that, on average, less than half of the U.S. population receives the flu shot each year, odds are Aunt 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.

If you are a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Blue Care Network member, visit a participating pharmacy with your member ID card to get your flu shot today. While most pharmacies will accept your coverage, be sure to ask before you get your vaccine. Then, write down the date and let your doctor know at your next appointment so he or she can keep your immunization chart up to date — and you healthy.

You can also schedule an appointment with your primary doctor to get one. Your office visit copayment may apply.

For Blue Cross members without BCBSM pharmacy coverage: Visit bcbsm.com/preventflu to see a list of immunizing pharmacies that provide vaccines under your medical coverage.

Photo credit: Eduardo Merille

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