Healthier LivingPreventive Care
Oct 2, 2023
2 Minute Read

Protect Yourself Against the Flu

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that affect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. The flu can cause mild to severe illness and even lead to hospitalization and death.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an annual flu shot is the best way to help protect yourself, and your loved ones, against the flu. Some people who get vaccinated may still get sick with flu. However, flu vaccination has been shown in studies to reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick. Remember, even if you’re healthy, it’s important to get a flu vaccine.

Who’s most likely to come down with the flu?

Anyone can get the flu; however, some people are at higher risk of developing serious illness if they get sick. This includes children under age five, pregnant women, and adults 65 and older. The risk of complications multiplies particularly among people who are 65 or older with heart or lung health conditions. People with 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.

It’s important to get a flu vaccine every year

Flu viruses are constantly changing, and flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next. For the best protection, the CDC recommends the current season’s vaccine. What’s more, because immune protection declines over time, an annual vaccine is needed for the best protection. The flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness because it is either made with flu vaccine viruses that have been killed (inactivated) or with parts of a flu virus but not the whole virus.

Antiviral treatment

If you are diagnosed with the flu, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral. Antivirals are treatment options for individuals considered high-risk once you have the flu. They can lessen symptoms and possibly prevent further complications. Antivirals work best if taken within one to two days after symptoms begin.

Get the flu shot at no extra cost

With your Blue Medicare Advantage plan, you can get your flu shot at no extra cost through your doctor’s office and most pharmacies. Call your Blue KC hometown customer service to learn more at (866) 508-7140 (TTY:711).

To stay up to date on all things flu-like, visit the CDC.

If you’re at high risk and begin to develop flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, head and muscle aches, fatigue, or difficulty breathing, contact your doctor right away

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s Blue Medicare Advantage includes both HMO and PPO plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Blue Medicare Advantage depends on contract renewal.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The HMO products are offered by Blue-Advantage Plus of Kansas City, Inc. and the PPO products are offered by Missouri Valley Life and Health Insurance Company, both independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and wholly-owned subsidiaries of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

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