Spread Flu Awareness – Not the Flu – When Traveling

The holiday season is here! For many, this time of year means traveling to get together with family and friends whom we may not see often. You may be traveling by car, train or plane, but do you know to protect yourself from the flu while on the road?

To me, traveling by plane is like taking a swim in a Petri dish – all that pressurized, re-circulating air, the sniffling and coughing guy sitting by you with crumpled tissue in hand. We’ve all seen that person. We may have even been that person.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises you against traveling when experiencing flu symptoms. Avoiding travel will protect others around you from getting sick, and help to keep you healthier from extra germs and potential complications, as well.

The CDC says people with the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days, but can be contagious up to seven days. If you’ve had flu-like symptoms, stay home until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of it without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

There are some things you can do to avoid catching the flu while traveling over the holiday season. Helpful hints from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases include:

  • Get your flu shot at least two weeks before traveling.
  • Arm yourself with tissues and hand sanitizer when traveling. Go ahead – kindly offer them to that sick guy you’re sitting by, the one with the crumpled tissue.
  • Turn the other cheek. If you’re about to cough or sneeze, turn your head away from others and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your upper sleeve – show your fellow travelers you’re interested in their welfare.
  • Keep your hands to yourself. Avoid touching your face and shaking hands with others if you have flu symptoms.
  • Stay home!

If you haven’t gotten your flu shot and you’re a Blue Cross or Blue Care Network member, you can always 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.

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

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

Photo credit: Daniel Spiess

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