Will you be protected during flu season?
During influenza (flu) season, it’s important that everyone do their part in preventing its spread, so that you, your family, and your community can stay healthy.
In case you didn’t already know, annual flu shots are covered under your Surest health plan. That means — whether you get your flu shot at a pharmacy, a clinic or a drive-thru location that are in-network —there is no additional cost to you. (Note that if you get the vaccine in a doctor’s office, and you discuss other health concerns, a copay may apply.)
Reasons to get the flu shot
Lying in bed all day and all night with a fever, chills, headache, and missing out on things you enjoy is never any fun. According to Healthwise,1 in an average year, thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized. The flu vaccine helps prevent millions of illnesses and flu-related visits to the doctor each year.
The flu is a contagious and sometimes dangerous disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May. Anyone can get the flu, but it can be more hazardous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant people, and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at greatest risk of flu complications. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. If you have a medical condition, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, the flu can make it much worse.2 It’s well worth it to be prepared.
How flu virus spreads
The flu virus can spread through coughing and sneezing by an infected person when respiratory fluid becomes airborne. You could also get the flu by simply touching a surface or object. Just think about all the crowded public spaces, like airports and grocery stores, where people are coming and going and potentially touching everything. When you touch a surface that has the flu virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, you’re flu risk just went up.3
You can also pass the flu on to someone else well before you show symptoms or after you know you are sick. Flu symptoms begin one to four days after the virus is in your body. According to the CDC, a healthy adult who becomes sick may infect others one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. In children and some people with weakened immune systems, the flu may hang on and be contagious for more than seven days. If you do get the flu, it’s best to stay home and rest. This also helps prevent the virus from spreading to others.
Symptoms are easy to spot
The influenza virus causes the flu, and you may develop fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and a runny or stuffy nose. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. Keep in mind that flu symptoms are more severe than cold symptoms and can come on much faster. Whether it’s a cold or the flu, be sure to rest and drink plenty of fluids, so you can start to feel better.
- According to HealthCare.gov, here are three ways the flu shot can help you and your family:
- It’s a simple way to protect yourself and your loved ones. Every year, the flu vaccine prevents millions of respiratory illnesses and flu-related doctor visits.
- It helps protect people with certain chronic conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes from serious illness and hospitalization.
- Getting a flu shot during pregnancy helps provide protection during and after pregnancy. It also helps protect the baby from the flu for several months after birth.
Getting the flu is a serious matter. This contagious virus attacks the lungs, nose, throat, and immune system. By simply getting the flu vaccine, you can help minimize your own risk of getting sick with the flu and reduce potentially serious complications and hospitalizations for high-risk populations, along with reducing the burden on our health care workers.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the yearly flu shot for everyone six months of age and older. Equally, they consider it the first and most crucial step in protecting against the flu virus.
For flu shot recommendations and guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visit http://cdc.gov/flu
The best way to protect yourself during flu season is to prevent it. A flu vaccination has many important benefits, so it makes sense to get it!
Make sure to take advantage of your Surest plan this flu season (benefits may vary). You can also check the Surest app, and search for a condition to see the services and programs that are available in your employer’s Surest plan. If you have questions about your plan or benefits, call Surest Member Services at 866-683-6440, Monday – Friday from 6 am – 9 pm CT.
Remember, the Surest health plan aims to help members adjust how they search for, evaluate, and get care so they can make more informed decisions about their care journey and live their best life.