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Build your wellness – get the flu shot!  Every year catching the flu can devastate health and cause days lost from work. The seasonal flu impacts life itself – 389 North Carolina citizens died from flu or flu-related complications during the 2017-18 flu season. 

People with underlying chronic health conditions, including those who may be overweight, are at risk of serious complications from the flu.  And even if you don’t have a chronic condition, evidence shows us that the flu shot can help to decrease your need for sick days. So save those days for fun by taking steps to avoid the dreaded virus this season.  

The flu shot 

The flu shot is the first line of defense for protection against the virus and should be on your to-do list every fall.

Last flu season approximately 155.3 million doses of the flu vaccine were given across the country. If you did not receive one of those doses, change that this year. Receiving your flu vaccination is easy, and by getting your shot you’re helping yourself and others by limiting the spread of the virus.

Visit your Doctor’s office, a pharmacy or a walk-in clinic to get your flu shot today.

If you’re a Blue Cross NC member, use the What’s True about the Flu page on our website to find the flu shot provider closest to you. Here is the flu vaccine info for the 2018-2019 season. The new vaccine will immunize against new strains of influenza A, compared to last year’s vaccine.  Vaccination should occur anytime the vaccine becomes available from now until the end of the season for all age groups.

There are some new recommendations and choices for the flu shot for 2018-19.  Patients with mild egg allergies can receive the flu shot per CDC recommendations.  The nasal spray flu vaccine that contains live flu virus  (live attenuated influenza vaccine or “LAIV”) is effective as the other vaccines for this forthcoming year and is a recommended option. 

These and other new recommendations can be found by visiting the CDC online.

What is the flu and how is it spread?

The flu, not to be confused with the common cold, is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza A or influenza B virus. While both the flu and cold are respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, the flu includes the added symptoms of fever, muscle aches, and fatigue.

The flu can impact both adults and children. It is mainly spread through coughing, sneezing or close contact. After coming into contact with the virus, it takes one to four days to show symptoms.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Feelings of fatigue

People can become contagious with the flu before symptoms appear and remain contagious for up to seven days. That’s a large window of time to infect others with the flu.

Prevent the spread of germs 

Your second line of defense against the flu is to prevent the spread of germs by doing these simple things often: 

  • Avoid close contact with sick individuals
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing    
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Clean flu infected surfaces

No one is completely immune to the flu. But by educating yourself about the virus, getting your flu shot and learning how to treat and prevent it, you’re one step closer to living a flu-free fall and winter.

For more information on the flu, talk to your doctor or health care provider when you go in for your flu shot or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

 

 

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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