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Flu Season is Here: Are You Ready?

Flu Season is Here: Are You Ready?

What if I told you that one week from today, you are going to be exposed to an extremely contagious infectious disease? A disease so serious that in the last year, 700,000 people were hospitalized and 56,000 died due to the complications from this illness.  Now what if I also told you that there is an antidote. A quick injection under the skin that carries minimal risk, but builds up your body’s immune system to fight this disease.  Would you receive the shot?

We don’t often talk about vaccines in such dramatic terms, but this scenario is the one we all face this flu season as we consider whether or not we will take the time to get a flu shot.  While the flu shot does not perfectly protect against every strain of influenza, it is an affordable option that gives your body the best chance for fighting off the flu.  The flu shot should cost, at the most, around $30 if you pay out of pocket.  Many insurance plans may include a flu shot at no cost, or if you are still working, your employee health services may offer free or reduced-cost shots. However, before you drive to the corner pharmacy, do a quick google search for the best price in your area.  Some Costco and Sam’s Club locations are offering flu shots at almost half the price of nationwide pharmacies, and you don’t have to be a member at these stores to receive the shot!

While the flu shot is a small cost, coming down with the flu is not only physically painful, but can hurt the pocket book as well.  The opportunity cost of missing work can make it difficult to pay routine bills, especially for those who are self-employed without sick leave.  Further, up to 700,000 individuals in the United States will require hospitalization for serious flu-related complications.  Medical bills for these hospitalizations only add headache, stress, and financial strain to an already difficult situation.

I realize that some individuals may have hesitation or questions about certain details regarding the flu shot.  This article has more information on common questions, like whether you should get a flu shot if you have an egg allergy, or whether your should receive the flu shot versus the nasal mist flu vaccine.   If you have questions about the flu vaccine that can’t be answered from resources online, it is important to talk with your healthcare provider so these concerns may be addressed.  Also, it is important to remember that influenza affects seniors disproportionately hard, and some of the serious complications like pneumonia and even death are more likely to occur in the senior population.  So if you have a senior family member or loved one, talk with them today about getting a flu shot.  Flu season is upon us.     

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