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Flu protection

Help members defend against the flu

In many cases, providers are members' first line of defense against flu. Talk to your patients about the flu and encourage them to protect themselves and their families. Explain how the virus spreads and the importance of getting a flu vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted for "universal" flu vaccination in the US to expand protection for more people. While everyone should get a vaccine each flu season, it's especially important for these members:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children older than 6 months old
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in long-term care facilities
  • Health care workers

Patients who already exhibit signs of flu—such as fever, sweat and chills, runny nose, dry cough and sore throat—should understand how to prevent germs from spreading:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep hands away from eyes, face and mouth.

Other key points to remember:

  • Children between the ages of 6 months old and 9 years old may need a different kind of flu protection.
  • Although a nasal spray is available as an alternative to the flu shot, there are more limits on who can receive the nasal spray.
  • Flu season begins in October and ends in May, but peaks from December to February.

Remind patients to visit you first if they begin to experience flu-like symptoms. If your office is closed, encourage them to call the 24/7 Nurse Call Line at 1-877-759-6279.