An Asthmatic’s Tale: I’ll Take that Flu Shot Now, Please

Flu seasons always seemed to come and go without really affecting me, so I never bothered to get a flu shot. I have asthma, but it’s well-controlled and I’ve always been healthy. I thought I didn’t need the flu vaccine. Then something happened that changed my mind.

One morning seven years ago, I woke up and was unable to get out of bed. My breathing was rapid and shallow and I was too weak to stand. My husband took one look at me, and told me we were heading to the doctor’s office.

When my doctor saw me, he immediately ordered a chest X-ray and wanted me on breathing treatments. I had all the symptoms of pneumonia. And as I saw the nurses scramble, I thought, “How bad am I?”

Each year, 200,000 Americans are hospitalized for flu-related complications, such as pneumonia. As a person with asthma, I had no idea if I would become one of those people.

I was lucky. After four hours of breathing treatments and tests, my doctor saw some improvement and sent me home with prescriptions and an inhaler.

My doctor explained that my lungs are already at risk due to the asthma, so getting the flu puts me at an increased risk for pneumonia. One shot could have saved me from paying for doctor visits co-pays, X-rays, breathing treatments, tests and prescriptions, plus weeks of missed work.

Ever since then, I listen to my doctor and I get my flu shot every year. I had to learn the hard way that a quick shot in the arm is better than an expensive stay in the hospital.

Visit a participating pharmacy with your Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Blue Care Network 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. 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 to see a list of immunizing pharmacies that provide vaccines under your medical coverage.

Photo credit: NHS Employers

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