The flu is sneaky. It can invade your body undetected, mask itself from the immune system, and keep up its charade until … you feel that tickle in the back of your throat and those body aches that aren’t from yesterday’s workout. Fast forward a few hours and you also may develop: Fever – Chills – Cough – Sore Throat – Runny or Stuffy Nose – Headache – Fatigue – Vomiting or Diarrhea.
Protect yourself from the flu for $0
When it comes to the flu, don’t risk it – get vaccinated! Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) health plans cover the cost of the vaccine 100% when it’s administered by an in-network provider, such as your primary care provider (PCP) or a retail health clinic. Blue KC members can find an in-network provider at MyBlueKC.com > Find Care.
Get to know the enemy
You may know some of the flu’s personality traits:
- It spreads before you have symptoms
- It can come on suddenly
- It infects up to 11% of the U.S. population each year
- Symptoms are significantly reduced by the flu vaccine
But here are a few you may not know:
Flu spreads easier than you may think
Remember those aerosols we were introduced to during Covid? Turns out, they’re responsible for spreading the flu, too. People with the flu generate infectious, tiny droplets that stay suspended in the air. By simply breathing, not to mention sneezing and coughing, a sick person is spreading the flu.
Flu puts older adults with heart and lung disease at greater risk
Unvaccinated individuals 65 and older with chronic conditions are at a greater risk of flu complications. Conditions include but are not limited to:
- Lung disease – People with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at a greater risk of being hospitalized with flu complications.
- Heart disease – People with conditions like congestive heart failure may have up to a six-time higher risk of having a heart attack within a week of a confirmed flu infection.
Flu and mucus are like oil and water
No one likes to think about mucus. But here’s a game changer. The mucus in your nose – where the flu virus typically invades – contains antibodies called Invasive Group A Streptococcal Infections (IgAs), which can protect you from the flu.1 Most effective when it’s wet, mucus is at its healthiest when you’re hydrated. So, drink up this flu season.
Flu lingers like a bad perfume
Once the flu virus moves into your house, it’s there to stay for a while. It has a 48-hour life span on hard, nonporous surfaces and a 12-hour life span on surfaces like clothes and tissues. Your best defense: wash or sanitize all surfaces that come in contact with an infected person.
Flu shuns vitamin C
The notion that vitamin C will protect you from the flu is a myth rooted in the 1970s. However, taken in large doses, vitamin C may help reduce the flu’s duration and symptoms. And it can help boost your immune system to fight infections.
Flu likes Fido
Your dog and other pets can catch their own strain of the flu that is species-specific. Although there’s no chance of infection between you and your furry friend, your pet may have symptoms similar to humans – sneezing, coughing, and fatigue – so be on alert during flu season.
It’s prime time for the flu vax
September and October are the prime time to get your $0 flu vaccine. Visit your PCP or an in-network retail health clinic today. Visit your member portal at MyBlueKC.com > Find Care to a find provider near you.
1Mucus, Our Body’s Silent Defender. UNC Healthcare. https://healthtalk.unchealthcare.org/mucus-our-bodys-silent-defender/