As it starts to get chilly in Michigan, doctors and pharmacists will tell you one thing: Flu season is now here. Flu season, when flu viruses spread at higher rates than normal, typically starts in early October and can last until May. The best defense against the flu is a flu shot.
Before you head to your doctor, clinic or participating pharmacy to get your shot, there a few things to know:
- It takes two weeks for the vaccine to kick in. This is a good reason to get vaccinated early in the season, when flu viruses spread slowly.
- Getting the flu shot will not cause you to get the flu.
- It’s fine to get a flu shot if you are feeling sick but if you have a fever, it’s best to wait. Also, it’s important that you consult with your doctor prior to getting the flu shot if you have a chronic condition.
- You may experience mild side effects from the shot, such as soreness at the injection site, mild fever or nausea.
- Talk to your health care provider if you have a history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines or an allergy to eggs. Some vaccines are made using small amounts of egg proteins, but there are types of flu vaccines that don’t contain any. If you have any concerns regarding the flu shot, talk to your doctor.
- Children under the age of six months are too young to receive the vaccine, but if you’re pregnant you should get the flu shot. It will protect both you and your baby from serious flu complications.
If you’re a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Blue Care Network member, visit a participating pharmacy with your member ID card to get your flu shot today. While most pharmacies will accept your coverage, be sure to ask before you get your vaccine. Then, write down the date and let your doctor know at your next appointment so he or she can keep your immunization chart up to date — and you healthy.
You can also schedule an appointment with your primary doctor to get one. Your office visit copayment may apply.
For Blue Cross members without Blue Cross pharmacy coverage: Visit bcbsm.com/preventflu to see a list of immunizing pharmacies that provide vaccines under your medical coverage.
Want to learn more about the flu season? Read these other blogs from this site as well as A Healthier Michigan:
- Does Your Child Need a Second Dose of the Flu Vaccine?
- The Flu Shot or Nasal Spray: Which is for You?
- Amp Up Your Resistance With an Annual Flu Vaccination
Photo credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District