A flu shot is your best protection against flu
Every flu season is a bit different, but some things stay the same each year.
- People of all ages get flu.
- People are hospitalized with flu.
- People who get a flu shot are less likely to become sick.
A flu shot can keep people from missing work or school. It can also help you avoid out-of-pocket costs and general misery.
“Getting a flu shot is easy, and it provides important protection for the season ahead,” said Sue Hagar, MD, of Asante Physician Partners.
Flu season starts in October. The vaccine takes about two weeks to become fully effective, so get your shot in September to be protected for the whole flu season. Jackson Care Connect members pay no fee when they get a flu shot from network providers.
High risks. The Centers for Disease Control recommend a flu shot for nearly everyone older than 6 months. People at high risk of complications from flu include:
- Children younger than 5, and especially under age 2
- Pregnant women
- People age 65 and older
- Residents of long-term care facilities
- American Indians and Alaska Natives
Flu can also cause health complications for people with certain conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or those with weakened immune systems from HIV, AIDS or cancer.
“Those who get a flu shot are less likely to get the flu and spread it to others. It provides important protection for people who are at high risk,” Dr. Hagar said.
People who smoke can get the flu more easily and get sicker from it. Jackson Care Connect members can get medical support to quit smoking. And everyone can call the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line at 800-quit-now (800-784-8669) or visit quitnow.net/Oregon for help.
Protection. Even though flu strains – and vaccines – can vary from year to year, all flu shots offer some protection. A study published in April 2018 said even a vaccine that is only 20 percent effective can still head off a lot of flu, and as many as 20 million doctor visits.
“It’s important to get a flu shot every year,” Dr. Hagar said. “Even some protection is better than none at all.”
Fast, easy, free. Getting your flu shot is your best bet to stay healthy. It’s fast and easy – you can get one at your local pharmacy without an appointment; or call your doctor’s office. And it’s generally free – most health plans cover it, including Jackson Care Connect.