Are you ready for the 2013 flu season?

As a life-long Michigander, this time of year promises many seasonal changes that I’ve grown accustomed to:  turning foliage, earlier sunsets, cooling temperatures and, unfortunately, the flu.

The beginning of an influenza infection

Truth be told, I’ve never gotten a flu shot. Never. Like many, I always feared that I’d get the flu if I got the flu shot. However, the Centers for Disease Control have time and time again tried to reassure me otherwise. I also know that the CDC cautions some people against getting the flu shot; I, however, do not fall into any of those categories – I’m well over six months old, never had an allergic reaction to a flu shot, and have never had Guillian-Barre Syndrome. But, if you have any questions about whether or not you should get a flu shot, make sure to talk to your doctor. As we’ve been telling you in smartER, your health care begins with choosing a primary care doctor and learning the where of health care, whether it’s an urgent care center, an emergency room or a flu shot provider.

Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who learn the hard way.  In February of this year, I contracted the flu. I thought I was going to die, just marinating in all the lovely ills that are part and parcel of the flu. Not only was I incredibly sick, but I had to miss work, which in my case means that I don’t get paid. All in all, my February flu experience ended up costing me about $500.00. That’s just in lost income and a script for flu medicine and doesn’t include the costs my insurance company had to pick up for me to go see the doctor.

Sadly, that’s not all that shocking. According to, the flu costs businesses nearly $7 billion dollars a year and 111 million lost workdays.  I’m a sad statistic, which is why I’m definitely getting my flu shot this flu season.

How much do you know about flu? The CDC cites the following as signs and symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

You may be fortunate enough to only experience a couple of these signs, others, like myself, experience the whole gamut of flu fun.

And how can you protect yourself from the flu? Recommendations made by my friends at the CDC include:

  1. Get a flu vaccine
  2. Avoid those with the flu
  3. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.

Stay tuned for more flu info over the coming season. Do all that you can to avoid becoming a sick statistic. Get your flu shot today!

Image credit: CDC


Read 1 Comment

  1. Being careful in public places helps a lot, too. Washing your hands, then using a paper towel to open the bathroom door in public restrooms, for example. Stuff like that that keeps you clean and reduces your likelihood of coming into contact with the flu as much as possible. There’s several lists floating around the internet.

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