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It’s that time of year again, the time when the air gets chilly, leaves start to fall, and you should get your flu shot to protect yourself, your family and your coworkers. Last year, thousands were hospitalized and more than 100 North Carolinians died from complications with the flu, with the most severe issues affecting people who have not had the flu shot. And the first death was already reported in the state for 2015. Don’t let that be you this year. 

The simple fact is that flu shot is the best way of preventing the seasonal flu and potential serious complications.

Who should get the flu shot and why?

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Flu vaccination benefits include reducing flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as preventing flu-related hospitalizations and even deaths. Rather than spend your PTO on being out with the flu, wouldn’t it be better spent on vacation?

What’s new with the flu shot this year?

To assure the best immunity, flu shots this season have been updated to better match circulating viruses, since strains of influenza shift from season to season. Flu shots this year will offer protection against new strains of influenza A (H1N1 & H3N2) and influenza B*. The takeaway? Last year’s flu shot won’t protect you from the flu this year.

Is it too early to get vaccinated?

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for protection to set in, and more than 40 million doses of 2015-16 flu vaccine have been distributed in the United States. Getting vaccinated will help you be protected all season long.

What else can I do to protect myself from the flu?

The flu shot in combination with hand washing will be your best protection this flu seaon.

You can get vaccinated at the Doctor’s office, a walk-in clinic, or at a pharmacy. If you’re a customer, to find in-network pharmacists, use our Find a doctor tool and under the Advanced Search section search for “Pharmacist (Flu & Other Limited Injections)” under Convenience Care.

You can get vaccinated at the Doctor’s office, a walk-in clinic, or at a pharmacy. If you’re a customer, to find in-network immunizing pharmacists, use our Find a doctor tool. Start typing “pharmacists” into the search box and select “Pharmacist (Flu & Other Limited Injections) Convenience Care (Facilities).

If you’re a BCBSNC customer, you can find an in-network CVS MinuteClinic by typing “Convenience Care Center” into the search box of our Find a Doctor tool and select “Convenience Care Center” under Facilities.

[Featured image: Shutterstock]

Dr. Larry Wu

About Dr. Larry Wu

Larry Wu MD is a regional medical director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and provides consultative services for employee health solutions, prevention, chronic disease, care management, medical expense and utilization management. He is a family physician with over 20 years in clinical practice, has served as clinic director in the Indian Health Service, Kaiser Permanente and Duke Family Medicine and currently maintains a part-time clinical practice.

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