Flu Season and Immunizations
Get Your Yearly Flu Shot
Influenza (flu) is an illness caused by the flu virus. It causes symptoms such as:
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Feeling tired
- Body aches
Flu season usually lasts from late fall through early spring.
How to Prevent the Flu
One of the best ways to prevent flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that all people six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year. This includes those who are pregnant.
Flu virus strains change from year to year. The vaccine must be updated to help prevent the flu viruses experts predict will cause illness during the upcoming season.
You can get the flu vaccine from your provider, walk-in clinics and even the pharmacy.
Health care providers advise getting the flu vaccine each year as soon as it's available in your area. If you need help to find out where to get a flu vaccination near you click here. Members can get the flu vaccine at no added cost.
Other ways to prevent the flu:
- Wash your hands often. Frequent handwashing is proven to help prevent the spread of infection.
- Carry an alcohol-based hand gel that has at least 60% alcohol. Use it when you can't use soap and water. Then wash your hands as soon as you can.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Clean phones, computer keyboards (at home and work) and toys often with disinfectant wipes.
- Avoid close contact with others who have the flu or flu symptoms.
If you get the flu:
- Stay home
- Wear a mask if you must go out to prevent spread of the virus to others
- Talk with your provider about whether you should take antiviral drugs. If you have health issues (like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease), you may be at greater risk of flu complications. Your provider may prescribe an antiviral drug to help make your symptoms milder. These drugs also help prevent flu complications, such as pneumonia. They work best if you start them within 2 days of getting sick.