October 2013 > Ready for Flu Season?

Wellness Wise

Flu Season is Here. Are You Ready?

The Single Best Way to Protect Against the Flu is to Get Vaccinated Each Year.
Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Cases of “seasonal flu” begin to show up in the United States as early as October and the season can last as late as May.

During this time, flu viruses are circulating in the population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.

How Do Flu Vaccines Work?
Flu vaccines (both the shot and nasal-spray) cause antibodies to develop about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are included in the vaccine.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. This varies from year to year so it’s important to get vaccinated each year, particularly if you are in a higher risk group. Ideally, you should get your flu vaccine as soon as possible after it becomes available for the upcoming season.

Where and How Can I Get My Flu Vaccine?
To make flu vaccines more accessible, your institution and your UT SELECT Medical and Prescription coverage offer many different options:

TIP: If you present your UT SELECT Medical card (from Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)) when receiving the flu vaccine at a pharmacy, the pharmacy will require payment and you will need to submit a paper claim to BCBS for reimbursement. Also, if you have already gotten your flu shot at a network retail pharmacy and paid out of pocket, you may submit a paper claim along with your itemized receipt to BCBS to receive reimbursement. Click here to download the BCBS medical claim form.

What Else Can I Do to Avoid Spreading Germs?
The flu is not the only concern when it comes to staying healthy. Other viruses, including norovirus which can survive longer outside the human body than many others, can also be spread easily and can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to serious. In addition to getting an annual flu vaccine, the CDC recommends following these everyday preventive steps to help slow the spread of the flu and other illnesses:

If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, always follow public health advice.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

UT System's "Living Well: Make it a Priority" Worksite Health & Wellness program provides a wealth of resources dedicated to your better health. Find additional helpful information at: www.livingwell.utsystem.edu.