Getting Healthy

Mom Can’t Get Sick: Flu Season Tips from CVS Minute Clinic

I have had the flu a couple of times (once in April…talk about MISERY and once during indoor soccer season when several teammates of my daughter as well as her coach got the flu) and there’s nothing like it that quite knocks you off your feet for several days. I’m working with CVS Minute Clinic this month to give you the lowdown on the flu, and what you can do to prevent it impacting you and your family this winter. I hate to be sick and hate to have down time, so prevention is key.

What IS the flu?


The flu is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. It can develop very quickly and with the flu, you almost always have a fever. Other common symptoms include headache, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy or runny nose and muscle aches. No fun! I’ve always known I had the flu because of just how rapidly I start to feel like crap  (not a clinical term…ha! But the truth. I always run a fever with the flu as well.)

How serious is the flu?


Certain people are at a greater risk for complications with the flu, such as seniors, pregnant women, young children and those with certain health complications like asthma or diabetes. If you are unsure if it’s the flu or just a cold, schedule an appointment with your doctor or a MinuteClinic practitioner. The faster you can get a diagnosis, the faster you can get on antibiotics. Also, if you are diagnosed quickly you may also be able to take TamiFlu, which greatly reduces your flu symptoms (and trust me is a God send!)

When is “flu” season?


Flu season does not necessarily have a specific start and end date. The timing, severity and length of the annual flu season vary, but outbreaks can begin as early as October, and has a tendency of peaking around January.

How long is the flu contagious?


The flu can spread before someone even realizes they’re sick, since most healthy adults can infect others 1 day before and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. For children and those with weakened immune systems, that period can be
even longer.

What options are available for flu shots this year?


CVS is offering the Trivalent and Quadrivalent shot this year. What is the difference?

  • Trivalent Vaccine (TIV) contains 2 A strains and 1 B strain of the influenza virus. This has been the standard flu vaccine since the late 1970s.

  • Quadrivalent Vaccine (QIV) protects against an additional B strain. This vaccine was created based on research from the past 12 influenza seasons. This vaccine offers an additional layer of protection against the flu.

Are flu shots covered by insurance at MinuteClinic?


Health insurance plans, including Medicare Part B, typically cover the full cost of a flu shot, and MinuteClinic
accepts most insurance.

Customers will receive a 20% off CVS/pharmacy Shopping pass when they get a flu shot at a CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic. *Disclaimer: Not available in MA, RI, PA and NY

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Flu season tips for staying well


• Wash your hands with soap and water often, especially after you cough or sneeze. When you wash, wet hands thoroughly, work up a lather and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based sanitizer is not as effective as hand-washing but it’s a great alternative.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, and discard 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 believed to be mainly spread from person-to-person contact (coughing and sneezing doesn’t help!)
• If you are sick, stay home from school or work to keep others from getting infected.
• Disinfect surfaces. Use a product that kills household germs and be sure to thoroughly wipe down handles, faucets and all surfaces that you touch often – don’t forget your workspace and car! If you use public transportation, be sure to wash your hands as soon as you get to your destination.
• Think you might be sick? Don’t wait and see – get help right away! Early flu treatment (within 72 hours of exposure to the virus) has been proven to reduce thelength and severity of illness. If you think you might have the flu or have beenexposed to someone with the flu, see a health care professional right away.

Where can I learn more about the flu? Visit www.cdc.gov/flu and read more about MinuteClinic’s vaccination offerings online.

I'm Jamie, a 50-year-old Nashville working mom desperately seeking a few moments of Zen and zinfandel. I love to travel, find great deals, and talk with my hands. My husband and I have two daughters, three dogs, one cat and too much laundry. Email me at blondemomblog @ gmail.com.

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