Why You Need a Flu Shot and Other Key Flu Facts

Posted on Dec 17th 2019 by Florida Blue

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Flu cases are on the rise in Florida and across the country. The best way to protect you and your family is to get a flu shot. Have questions about the flu shot and why you should get one? We’ve got answers.

Remember, flu shots are available at no additional cost to Florida Blue members who get them at network doctors or pharmacies like Publix, Winn-Dixie and Walgreens. Some pharmacies give gift cards to those getting a flu shot. Medicare members can earn $20 in HealthyBlue Rewards for getting their flu shot.

Q: Can I get the flu from a flu shot?

A: Let’s set the record straight: You can’t get the flu from getting a flu shot. It takes about two weeks after getting the shot for your body to develop immunity so some people may get the flu during that time period.

Q: How important is it for children to be vaccinated?

A: It truly could save their lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study in 2017 that found the risk of death was reduced by 51 percent among kids with underlying high-risk medical conditions.

Q: Are there specific flu shots for people 65 and older?

A: Yes, and they have proven to be more effective. The “high-dose” vaccine has four times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot. The second is Fluad, which has an additive that creates a strong immune response. Studies show both also brought on more of the mild side-effects, like pain or redness at the injection site, and muscle aches.

Q: How do I know if I have a cold or the flu?

A: The symptoms can be similar, but there are key differences. The flu comes on abruptly and commonly includes fever, body aches, fatigue, and a headache. A cold is a more gradual onset, rarely causes fever and commonly includes sneezing, a stuffy nose and sore throat.

Q: What is the period of contagiousness for the flu?

A: People suffering from the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Some adults may begin infecting others a day before symptoms develop and up to a week after becoming sick.

Q: Why isn’t the flu shot good for more than one year?

A: The primary flu viruses often change from year to year, so vaccines are updated to better match those for in circulation for that season. Even if the virus is the same, your immune protection declines over time.

Q: What impact does the flu have on people 65 and older?

A: People from that age group certainly bear the biggest burden when it comes to serious flu cases. Statistics say that, in recent years, that age group has accounted for 70-90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and 50-70 percent of the hospitalizations.

Q: How can a flu shot help a pregnant woman and her baby?

A: Getting vaccinated protects both the mother, whose risk of being hospitalized with the flu is reduced by 40 percent and the baby because the mom passes on antibodies to the infant during the pregnancy.

Q: What else can I do to prevent spreading the flu virus?

A: Obviously, the flu shot is most important. But other steps include avoiding close contact with people who are sick or if you are sick, stay home when you are sick, cover your mouth, wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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