Don’t Get the Holiday Flu Blues
‘Tis the season for giving and receiving, but there’s one thing you don’t want your loved ones to share: the flu. Visiting family and friends can create the perfect environment for spreading the flu virus.
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 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 it, Aunt Sally may have spread the virus to everyone she encountered. It’s unfortunate, but there was no preventing it, right?
If Aunt Sally had her flu shot, she may have not gotten the flu. And if the passengers on her plane, the people she interacted with at the airport and her family members had the flu shot, they might not be facing the current risk of catching the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 40 percent of the US population received the flu shot in the 2017-2018 season, and this prevented and estimated 6.2 million flu related illnesses.
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.
Make the right choice and get your flu shot this season to protect yourself, your family members and those who are unable to get the flu shot like newborns.
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.
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