Presbyterian Senior Care (HMO) and Presbyterian MediCare PPO | Fall 2020 | Your Story
4 Influenza, or the flu, is an illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. Flu symptoms include fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and runny or stuffy nose. Flu season usually starts in October and can last through May of each year. The flu virus infects the nose, throat, and lungs. The virus can be spread to others up to six feet away when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks. People can spread the flu virus to others before they have any of the symptoms. Some people are at risk for health complications if they get the flu: ● Children younger than five years old ● Pregnant women ● Adults age 65 and older ● People with certain chronic medical conditions Flu vaccines Flu vaccines can help you avoid the flu. They can also make the symptoms less severe if you do get the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older get the flu vaccine every year, with rare exceptions. You should talk to your healthcare provider before getting a flu vaccination if you have a severe allergy to the influenza vaccine or any of its ingredients, had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccine in the past, have been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, or have been feeling ill. Some minor side effects from getting the flu shot include soreness or redness of the skin where the shot was given, a low-grade fever, and body aches. Formulary Check your Formulary for a complete list of flu vaccines covered by your pharmacy benefit—go to www.phs.org and search for “Formulary.” You can also call the Presbyterian Customer Service Center. We are here to help. Presbyterian began covering flu vaccines for the 2020/2021 flu season as of September 1, 2020. Who should get the flu shot? ● Everyone six months and older should get a flu shot every year. A new vaccine is made each year to protect against the latest flu viruses. ● Women who are pregnant (to protect themselves and their unborn babies). ● Very young children (older than six months). ● Adults 65 years of age and older. ● People with certain chronic (long- term) medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. ● Caregivers and family members of any of the people listed above. ● Healthcare workers. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention What is the flu? Stay away from sick people and stay home if you are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash your hands often with soap and water or rub your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wash eating utensils, dishes, sheets, and towels, especially if someone in the family is ill. Frequently clean surfaces that are touched by hands. Get a flu vaccine every year, since the flu virus changes. Talk to your provider! You can learn more about the flu or flu vaccines at www.cdc.gov/flu and by talking to your healthcare provider. Tips for preventing the flu Follow these simple steps to keep yourself and your family healthy during flu season: Free flu shots Learn where you can get a free flu shot and how to prevent the spread of flu. Find a flu shot clinic by visiting www.phs.org/fluseason . You can also go to our flu shot page for more information. Visit www.phs.org/fluseason .