It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Shot  

While it’s recommended to get your flu shot before the influenza virus starts spreading – typically by the end of October – there are still benefits to getting vaccinated throughout the winter months. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that flu vaccines be made available “into January or later.” Antibodies to help you fight the flu will develop in the body about two weeks after you get the shot, so stop into your local pharmacy or see if your doctor’s office is having any clinics you can take advantage of before you’re exposed to the virus. 

Especially this year, health experts are urging everyone to get the flu shot to minimize hospitalizations from the flu that could overburden hospital systems and health care providers.   

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, the main thing you can do to avoid the flu is to wash your hands correctlyWearing masks to fight COVID-19 can also help stop the spread of the flu, as can social distancing measures. But don’t stop there: Here are other ways you can boost your defenses against the flu this season: 

  • Don’t use your hands to cover your coughs or sneezes. It may feel natural to use your hands to cover your mouth or nose, but doing so can lead to the spread of disease. Instead, use a tissue and throw it away right after. And if you don’t have a tissue, use your upper arm or elbow. 
  • Try not to touch your face. Researchers have found that the average person touches his or her face six times every hour. And each time your hands touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you could be infecting yourself with the flu. 
  • Drink up! During the flu season, it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated. By drinking plenty of water, you’ll keep your respiratory system moist and help your immune system stay strong. 
  • Get some exercise. Doing cardio exercise like cycling, walking and running can also boost your immune system. That means if the flu virus gets into your body, you have better defenses to fight it. 
  • Become more mindful. Research shows that people who meditate for 45 minutes a day for eight weeks are less likely to get sick than those who did not. And when they did get sick, it was for a shorter amount of time and with less severe symptoms. 

Have you gotten your flu shot yet? If not, find Blue Cross-sponsored events across Michigan where you can get yours or visit vaccinefinder.org to find a location near you.  

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Photo credit: Chinnapong

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