What You Need to Know About the Flu

September 11, 2018
What You Need to Know About the Flu

Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus that can lead to a hospital visit or even death. Flu season can start as early as October and last as late as May. Make sure you and your family are prepared. Get your flu shot now!

Symptoms and Solutions

You’re probably familiar with the symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected and have breathing problems without a fever.

An annual vaccine is the best way to avoid getting the flu and spreading it to others. You should get the vaccine as soon as it’s available, if possible by October. Flu most often peaks in January or after, and it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to start protecting against the virus. So it’s best to get the shot early, before the flu starts spreading in your area.

These vaccines are available at no out-of-pocket cost to QualChoice members:

  • Standard injectable flu shot
  • Intranasal (spray) vaccine
  • High-dose flu shot for people 65 and older

Who Should Get the Shot?

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Those at highest risk for flu complications are:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives
  • People with chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD/emphysema, diabetes or heart disease

Who Should Not Get the Shot?

  • Children younger than 6 months
  • People with severe allergies to flu vaccine or anything in the vaccine like egg, gelatin or antibiotics.

3 Ways to Fight the Flu

1. Get a yearly flu vaccine!

QualChoice makes it easy. Get your shot now, at any network pharmacy or from your doctor, at no out-of-pocket cost!* Just show your QualChoice ID card.

2. Take preventive action

  • Avoid close contact with sick people and while sick, limit contact with others.
  • Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may have germs like the flu.

3. Take antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes

  • Antiviral drugs – but not antibiotics – can treat the flu.
  • These drugs can make the illness milder and shorter.
  • They may also prevent complications.
  • Antiviral flu drugs work best when started within2 days of getting sick. But starting them later still helps, especially if you have a high risk factor or are very sick.

Learn more about influenza at cdc.gov/flu.

*If your pharmacy benefit is not handled by QualChoice, this benefit may not be available to you. Call QualChoice Customer Service at 501.228.7111 or 800.235.7111 Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to learn more about flu shots.

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)