Thank you to CVS MinuteClinic for sponsoring this post. Opinions are my own.
It’s that time of year again. Flu Season will be upon us before we know it. In order to be prepared and avoid feeling terrible with the flu for several weeks it’s best to consider getting your flu shot now. CVS MinuteClinic can answer any questions you may have about the flu shot and help you get your family vaccinated quickly and easily.
What IS the flu? The flu is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. It can develop very quickly and with the flu, you almost always have a fever. Other common symptoms include headache, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy or runny nose and muscle aches. No fun!
How serious is it? Certain people are at a greater risk for complications with the flu, such as seniors, pregnant women, young children and those with certain health complications like asthma or diabetes. If you are unsure if it’s the flu or just a cold, see your doctor or a MinuteClinic practitioner. Better to be safe than sorry!
When is “flu season?” Flu season does not necessarily have a specific start and end date. The timing, severity and length of the annual flu season vary, but outbreaks can begin as early as October, and has a tendency of peaking around January.
How long is the flu contagious? The flu can spread before someone even realizes they’re sick, since most healthy adults can infect others 1 day before and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. For children and those with weakened immune systems, that period can be even longer.
Did you know there are several options available for flu shots?
Regular seasonal flu shot
CVS MinuteClinic is also offering the Trivalent and Quadrivalent shot this year.
Trivalent Vaccine (TIV) contains 2 A strains and 1 B strain of the influenza virus. This has been the standard flu vaccine since the late 1970s.
Quadrivalent Vaccine (QIV) protects against an additional B strain. This vaccine was created based on research from the past 12 influenza seasons. This vaccine offers an additional layer of protection against the flu.
Intradermal shot for those who might be squeamish about needles (approved for adults 18-64; may not be covered by all insurance providers) CVS is not offering the intradermal shot this year.
High dose vaccination for customers 65 years and up (provides an elevated level of antigens, which create a stronger immune response in seniors) MinuteClinic vaccinates patients 18 months and older. If you have a child between 6-18 months, they should receive their vaccination from a pediatrician. *Disclaimer: 18 months and older; 24 months in KY; 5 years and older in CT.
Will my flu shot be covered by insurance at MinuteClinic? Health insurance plans, including Medicare Part B, typically cover the full cost of a flu shot, and MinuteClinic accepts most insurance! They also accept cash payment.
Customers will receive a 20% off CVS/pharmacy Shopping pass when they get a flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic. *Disclaimer: Not available in MA, RI, PA and NY.
Flu Vaccination: Myth Busting!
I only need to get vaccinated once. MYTH! A new flu vaccine is developed every year to
fight the strains that are most likely to be prevalent for the season. It is important to get
your flu shot each year, before the start of flu season!
People start getting sick once cold weather hits, so the fall is too early to get my shot. MYTH! The CDC recommends getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available (usually end of September or October). Unfortunately, outbreaks can happen before Halloween! It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in your body to provide protection, so it’s never too soon!
Can’t you get sick from the flu shot? MYTH! It is 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 is 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 at the injection site!)
How can I protect myself, and my family from the flu? Vaccination is the first line of defense against the flu. Eating right, exercising regularly, washing your hands and getting enough sleep (7-8 hours a night!) can also help, but the single most effective way to avoid getting the flu, is to get a seasonal flu shot!
Who should get the shot? 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 and older be vaccinated, including those who were vaccinated last season.
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. When you wash, wet hands thoroughly, work up a lather and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based sanitizer is not as effective as hand-washing but it’s a great alternative.
• 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 believed to be mainly spread from person-to-person contact (coughing and sneezing doesn’t help!)
• If you are sick, stay home from school or work to keep others from getting infected.
• Disinfect surfaces. Use a product that kills household germs and be sure tothoroughly wipe down handles, faucets and all surfaces that you touch often – don’t forget your workspace and car! If you use public transportation, be sure to wash your hands as soon as you get to your destination.
• Think you might be sick? Don’t wait and see – get help right away! Early flu treatment (within 72 hours of exposure to the virus) has been proven to reduce the length and severity of illness. If you think you might have the flu or have been exposed to someone with the flu, see a health care professional right away.
Is it the flu or a cold? Check your symptoms here!
Flu: usually present
Flu: fairly common
Flu: moderate to severe
Symptom: Onset of symptoms
Cold: appear gradually
Flu: can appear within 3-6 hours
Symptom: Stuffy nose
Symptom: Runny nose
Symptom: Sore throat
Symptom: General aches/pains
Flu: common, often severe
Symptom: Chest discomfort
Cold: mild to moderate
Flu: often severe
Where can I learn more about the flu? To learn more about the flu, how to keep yourself healthy, and what to do if you do get sick visit www.cdc.gov/flu and MinuteClinic’s vaccination offerings at: http://bit.ly/ZQZVDn.
You can also find tips and ways to fight the flu from MinuteClinic Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer Angela Patterson here: http://bit.ly/1YzfdX9
Be sure to check out the #NoTimeForFlu Twitter Chat on 10/15 from 1-2 pm. @MinuteClinic and @CDCFlu will be there with helpful tips to help get you through the flu season. RSVP here: http://on.fb.me/1MgDdVK.
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post sponsored by CVS MinuteClinic. These are my own, honest opinions. I only recommend products and services to my readers that I feel are trustworthy and that I can stand behind with pride.