Flu season is here! Are you ready? The single best way to protect yourself is by getting an annual flu shot. Flu vaccines are recommended to most people 6 months of age and older, including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Getting vaccinated helps in two ways. First, it reduces the likelihood that you will get the flu and transmit it to others. It also helps reduce the chances of serious and potentially deadly complications should you become ill.
The good news is that most major insurance plans cover the full cost of getting a flu shot. North Country HealthCare also offers discounted options for those who qualify. We also work with the Vaccines for Children Program, which covers the full cost for eligible children.
All North Country HealthCare locations throughout Northern Arizona have flu vaccines available for patients. Are you worried that the flu vaccine could give you the flu? That’s simply not true. The flu vaccine that North Country HealthCare provides contains inactivated viruses that cannot give you the flu. You may get some minor aches and other mild symptoms, but that’s a sign that your immune system is doing its job of making antibodies to protect you during flu season! For parents, it’s also important to know that we use flu vaccines free of thimerosal (mercury).
In addition to getting a flu shot, there’s a lot you can do to avoid getting sick during flu season. Here are some simple yet highly effective steps you can take to protect yourself and your family:
Stay home while you are sick
Your co-workers will thank you. A study by the University of Arizona found that sick employees can spread their germs to up to 50% of commonly touched surfaces in a workplace in just four hours!
Wear a mask
Mask up if you are experiencing any sick symptoms, if you have been around anyone sick, or if you are returning to work after having been sick and you still have lingering symptoms.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Coughing into your elbow works well to prevent contaminating your hands.
Clean your hands often
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Remember to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (hum the ‘happy birthday’ song from beginning to end twice’, rinse your hands well under clean, running water and dry your hands thoroughly. Use an alcohol-based hand rub frequently.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Practice other good health habits
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
At North Country, we are here to keep you and your family healthy. Call today for your flu shot appointment!
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