Protect yourself against influenza

Blue Cross of Idaho
Winter is rapidly approaching, and that means flu season.

Flu, also called influenza, is a contagious viral respiratory disease. Symptoms can include fever, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, muscle or body aches, headache and fatigue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), North American flu season begins in October and continues through February, with cases generally peaking in January or later.

How can you protect yourself and your family against the flu?

By getting the flu vaccine. And it's covered at no cost. The easiest place to get your flu shot is in your doctor's office, where there is no extra paperwork required. Ideally, you should try to be vaccinated by October, because it takes two weeks for the vaccine to become effective. But you can get a flu shot anytime. Some protection is better than no protection.

Everyday example:

In November, Jennifer noticed that several of her colleagues got the flu. She went to her doctor's office and got the flu shot. It was covered by her insurance at no cost, and she didn't get sick – or miss any work.

Worried about the safety of the flu vaccine?

Don't be. Flu shots contain no mercury, and because they contain only an inactivated form of the virus they won't give you the flu.

Some people will have a mild reaction to the shot, but that is not common. It is much less dangerous than getting the flu, which can develop into a serious illness.

Published 10-25-13