Ah, it’s that wonderful time of year again – Flu season. (Ugh.) Sniffles, sneezes, sore throats, stuffy or runny noses, and all that fun stuff. Mommy Mafia reached out to our friends over at CVS MinuteClinic to ask about ways we can fight the flu: from understanding what it is, ways to help prevent it and to talk about the myths that surround flu vaccinations.
MM: When is “flu season”?
CVS MinuteClinic: The timing, severity and length of the annual flu season varies from one season to another, but outbreaks can begin as early as October, and tends to peak around January or later.
MM: What is the “flu,” anyways?
CVS MinuteClinic: The flu is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. It can develop very quickly and with flu, you always have a fever.
MM: For how long is the flu contagious?
CVS MinuteClinic: The flu can be passed on even before someone realizes they’re sick, since most healthy adults can infect others 1 day before and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Children or those with weakened immune systems, that period is even longer.
MM: How serious is it?
CVS MinuteClinic: Certain people are at greater risk for complications with the flu, including seniors, young children, pregnant women and those with certain health conditions like asthma or diabetes. A misdiagnosed flu can lead to complications, so if you are unsure if it’s the flu or a cold, see your doctor or MinuteClinic practitioner.
MM: How can I protect myself and my family?
CVS MinuteClinic: Vaccination is the first line of defense against the flu. Eating right, exercising and getting plenty of rest can also help, but the single most effective way to avoid getting the flu to get a seasonal flu shot!
MM: Who should get the flu shot?
CVS MinuteClinic: Since getting a seasonal flu vaccine is the single most effective way to prevent getting the flu, the CDC recommends that anyone ages six months or older be vaccinated, including those who were vaccinated last season. (At MinuteClinic, we vaccinate 18 mos. and older.)
CVS MinuteClinic suggests to try some of these daily tips to keep healthy and help to prevent cold and flu:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, especially after you cough or sneeze.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, and discard of the tissue in the trash. Sneeze into your sleeve if a tissue is not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as germs can spread easily that way.
- Avoid contact with those who are sick. Flu is thought to be mainly spread from person-to-person contact (coughing and sneezing doesn’t help!).
- If you’re sick, stay home from school or work to keep others from getting infected.
Myth or Not? Let’s talk some Myths surrounding Flu Vaccination
“I only need to be vaccinated once.”
MYTH! A new flu vaccine is developed each year to fight the strains that are most likely to be prevalent for the season, so it’s important to get your flu shot each year.
“People start getting sick once cold weather hits, so it’s too early to get my shot.”
MYTH! The CDC recommends to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available, ideally by October (outbreaks can happen before Halloween!). It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in your body to provide protection, so it’s not too soon.
“I’ve heard you can get sick from a flu shot.”
MYTH! It’s actually impossible, since the vaccine is made from an inactivated (dead!) virus, so it cannot give you the flu. If you get flu-like symptoms after getting your flu shot, it’s likely that you were exposed to the flu after you got vaccinated but before the vaccine took effect, which can be up to two weeks. (The only real side effect of the flu vaccine might be soreness or redness where the shot was administered!)
Did you know there are several options available for flu shots? Here are some:
- Regular seasonal flu shot
- Intradermal shot for those who might be squeamish about needles (approvedfor adults 18-64; this may or may not be covered by insurance)
- High dose vaccination for customers 65 years and older (provides anelevated level of antigens, which can create a stronger immune response in seniors)
CVS MinuteClinic vaccinates patients 18 months and older. If you have a child between 6 and 18 months, they should receive their vaccination from a pediatrician.
Will it be covered by insurance? Health insurance plans, including Medicare Part B, typically cover the full cost of a flu shot, and MinuteClinic accepts most insurance! We also accept cash payment.
And…BONUS! Customers will receive a 20% off CVS/pharmacy Shopping pass when they get a flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic.
Fight the Flu! Learn more about the flu: www.cdc.gov/flu and MinuteClinic’s vaccination offerings at: http://bit.ly/ZQZVDnThis post was brought to you by CVS Minute Clinic.