It’s that time of year. Don’t miss out because you’re sick with the flu virus. There are things you can do now to protect yourself.
What is the flu?
The flu, also called influenza, is a sickness caused by a virus. It can affect your nose, throat, head, and chest. The flu will make you feel very sick for about a week. Influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
Beating the flu – the basics
Keep the flu away with these tips:
Get your flu shot each year. A flu shot protects you and your family from getting sick with the flu. Flu vaccines are safe and work well.
Wash hands often. Wash your hands regularly and often for about 30 seconds using soap and water.
Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hand to keep germs from spreading.
Eat healthy foods. Eat healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, to support your immune system.
Drink more water. Aim for six to eight glasses of water every day.
Get enough sleep. Try to get eight hours of sleep a night.
Flu season typically lasts from October to May, so getting a shot early can give you and your loved ones the most protection from the flu. See how active the flu is in your state or city at cdc.gov/flu/weekly.
Everyone, from toddlers to older adults, should get the flu shot to protect themselves and avoid spreading the flu to others. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine each year. Getting a flu shot is especially important for certain people, like pregnant women, children, the elderly and people who have chronic health conditions.
You can get your flu shot at your primary care provider or your local health department. Many drugstores, urgent care centers and schools also give flu shots for free. Go to a pharmacy near you to find out more or go to vaccinefinder.org to search for a place to get your flu shot.
Debunking flu shot myths
Can the flu shot actually give you the flu?
No, a flu shot can’t give you the flu. While you may have some side effects like soreness, swelling, or muscle aches, getting vaccinated will not infect you. Usually, these side effects go away after a couple days.
Do I have to get a flu shot every year?
Yes. Flu viruses can change each year and each flu season is different.
Does the flu shot really work?
Yes. Getting the flu shot can keep you from getting sick with the flu. It also reduces the number of flu-associated hospitalizations. Even if you do get sick, the flu shot can keep your illness from getting much worse.
Is it better to get the flu than the flu shot?
No. The flu can be a very serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious problems, hospitalization, or death, even among people who are otherwise healthy. Getting a flu shot is a safer choice than risking illness.
To learn more about healthy living, visit the Health & Wellness page on www.anthem.com/wisconsin. Our team of experts is always sharing new health tips, topics, and preventive care programs for you and your family to use. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a community partner of Chippewa Valley Family.