Pennie’s take: Having the flu is miserable. Fever, chills, aching all over and oh so tired! It’s been quite a while since I’ve had the flu and to keep from getting it again I get a flu shot every year at my MiniteClinic, right down the street. Being older and being around little kids (my grandchildren), my risk is higher, but I wish everyone would get a vaccination. There’s nothing worse that being at work (or some other place you frequent) and sitting beside that person you know is coming down with the flu but they felt they couldn’t afford to stay home! Unfortunately they are bringing their infection with them – the flu does not take a day off! Please get a flu vaccine or be prepared to stay home. Let’s keep everyone healthier!
Here are some things you should know:
What is the flu, anyways? The flu is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. It can develop very quickly and with flu, you always have a fever. Other common symptoms include headache, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy or runny nose and muscle aches (ugh).
How can I protect myself and my family? Vaccination is the first line of defense against the flu. Eating right, exercising and getting plenty of rest can also help, but the single most effective way to avoid getting the flu to get a seasonal flu shot!
How serious is it? Certain people are at greater risk for complications with the flu, including seniors, young children, pregnant women and those with certain health conditions like asthma or diabetes. A misdiagnosed flu can lead to complications, so if you are unsure if it’s the flu or a cold, see your doctor or a MinuteClinic practitioner.
Who should get the shot? Since getting a seasonal flu vaccine is the single most effective way to prevent getting the flu, the CDC recommends that anyone ages six months or older be vaccinated, including those who were vaccinated last season. (At MinuteClinic, we vaccinate 18 mos. and older.)
For how long is it contagious? The flu can be passed on even before someone realizes they’re sick, since most healthy adults can infect others 1 day before and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Children or those with weakened immune systems, that period is even longer.
There are several options available for flu shots. Here are some:
- Regular seasonal flu shot. We are offering Trivalent and Quadrivalent shot this year
- Trivalent Vaccine (TIV) contains 2 A strains and 1 B strain of the of the influenza virus. The standard vaccine since the ’70s.
- Quadrivalent Vaccine (QIV) protects against an additional B strain. This vaccine was created based on research from the past 12 influenza seasons. This offers an extra layer of protection agains the flu.
- Intradermal shot for those who might be squeamish about needles (approved for adults 18-64; may not be covered by all insurance providers) We are not offering the intradermal shot this year
- High dose vaccination for customers 65 years and up (provides an elevated level of antigens, which create a stronger immune response in seniors)
MinuteClinic vaccinates patients 18 months and older. (The CDC recommends that anyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot even if you got one last year.) If you have a child between 6 and 18 months, they should receive their vaccination from a pediatrician.Will it be covered by insurance? Health insurance plans, including Medicare Part B, typically cover the full cost of a flu shot, and MinuteClinic accepts most insurance! We also accept cash payment.
And…BONUS! Customers will receive a 20% off CVS/pharmacy Shopping pass when they get a flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic. *Disclaimer: Not available in MA, RI, PA and NY.
Flu Vaccination Myths:
I only need to be vaccinated once. MYTH! A new flu vaccine is developed each year to fight the strains that are most likely to be prevalent for the season, so it’s important to get your flu shot each year, preferably before flu season starts.
People start getting sick once cold weather hits, so it’s too early to get my shot. MYTH! The CDC recommends to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available, ideally by October (outbreaks can happen before Halloween!). It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in your body to provide protection, so it’s not too soon.
I’ve heard you can get sick from a flu shot. MYTH! It’s actually impossible, since the vaccine is made from an inactivated (dead!) virus, so it cannot give you the flu. If you get flu-like symptoms after getting your flu shot, it’s likely that you were exposed to the flu after you got vaccinated but before the vaccine took effect, which can be up to two weeks.
(The only real side effect of the flu vaccine might be soreness or redness where the shot was administered!)
Try some of these daily tips to keep healthy and help to prevent cold and flu:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, especially after you cough or sneeze. Be sure to wash up your arms and wash long enough (sing Happy Birthday – that’s about the right amount of time!)
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, and discard of the tissue in the trash. Sneeze into your sleeve if a tissue is not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as germs can spread easily that way.
- Avoid contact with those who are sick. Flu is thought to be mainly spread from person-to-person contact (coughing and sneezing doesn’t help!).
- If you’re sick, stay home from school or work to keep others from getting infected.
- Disinfect surfaces with a product that kills household germs. Thoroughly wipe down handles, faucets and any surface you touch. Don’t forget your car and work space. Use public transportation? Wash your hands as soon as you reach your destination!
- If you think you have contracted the flu, see the a health care professional within 72 hours of exposure, to reduce the length and severity of your flu.
Flu: usually present
Flu: fairly common
Flu: moderate to severe
Symptom: Onset of symptoms
Cold: appear gradually
Flu: can appear within 3-6 hours
Symptom: General aches/pains
Flu: common, often severe
Symptom: Chest discomfort
Cold: mild to moderate
Flu: often severe
Symptom: Runny nose
Symptom: Stuffy nose
Symptom: Sore throat
Where can I learn more about the flu? Learn more about the flu at the CDC and MinuteClinic’s vaccination offerings at: CVS/Flu.
Check out ways to fight the flu from MiniteClinic Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer Angela Patterson.
Nicole’s take: I have been getting flu shots every year for as long as I can remember. Since I had my triplets at 31 weeks last year I am acutely aware of how vulnerable some populations (like preemies) are should they get the flu. It’s important to protect me and my family against illness whenever possible. So I don’t hesitate to give myself and my children the flu shot every year. This year, as in years past, Jamie and I will go to our local Minute Clinic to get our flu shots. I am always so impressed with the efficiency of the Minute Clinic. The sign in process is electronic and while you wait you can browse your CVS store! I have never had to wait long and the providers have always been very nice and knowledgeable. Protect yourself and your family this flu season – head to your local Minute Clinic to get a flu shot!
Disclosure: I have received promotional consideration from MinuteClinic.
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