Your Roadmap to Conquering Flu Season
With germs potentially lurking around every corner, it’s important to start thinking about what steps you can take now to avoid the flu this winter. While the flu shot is important every year, it’s particularly crucial this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While a flu vaccine can’t protect you from getting COVID-19, reducing the number of flu cases will provide more resources to care for those who become ill with COVID-19.
The first step to staying healthy is to get a flu shot as soon as possible. An annual flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your family from getting the flu. This also helps protect vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, pregnant women and young children, since you won’t pass the flu onto them.
It takes around two weeks for the vaccine antibodies to develop and start protecting you from the flu, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting vaccinated early in the season, ideally by the end of October. If you weren’t able to receive your shot by that deadline, don’t just forget about it. It’s still beneficial to receive the vaccine through January.
Where do you go to get a flu shot? With your member ID card, your Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Blue Care Network HMO coverage includes a free shot each year at your doctor’s office (copayment may apply) or a participating pharmacy in your area, like CVS or Meijer. With so many options, you’re able to pick the location that’s most convenient for you and your loved ones.
Getting a flu shot is just the first step in staying healthy this season. Further prevent the flu from affecting you and your family by following these other guidelines:
- Wash your hands often. Lather up with soap and vigorously rub your hands together to kill germs. Can’t wash with water and soap? Use an alcohol-based hand gel.
- When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and wash your hands before touching any surfaces.
- Avoid touching your face, since your mouth and nose are where germs enter your body.
- Clean surfaces in your home and office that could be contaminated with germs, like bathroom faucet handles and remote controls.
- Avoid contact with sick people, If you start to feel ill, go home as to not infect others.
According to the CDC, the flu kills between 12,000 and 56,000 in the U.S. each year. And up to 35 million people in the U.S. get sick with the flu. If you do get the flu, you can find out where to get help here: bcbsm.com/findcare.
For more information regarding the flu shot and flu season, check out these posts:
- Parents: The Flu Shot is For You, Too
- The Flu Shot or Nasal Spray: Which is For You?
- 8 Things You Should Know About the Flu Shot
Photo credit: kung_tom