Heading South for the Winter? Get Your Flu Shot First
Michigan winters can be harshly cold and snowy, leading a lot of people to head south to warmer temperatures. Whether you’re a seasoned snow bird or just planning a weekend escape, it’s important to remember to get your flu shot as you check tasks off your travel to-do list.
Studies show the influenza virus can cause havoc on your health year-round. So, while you may be able to escape the dead of winter, you can’t escape the risk of getting the flu.
Get your flu shot before traveling to help protect yourself against an increased risk of being exposed to the virus in busy airports or buses.
People 65 or older and those who are very young have the highest risk for experiencing complications from the flu.
Ideally, people should get the flu shot in October. If you missed that timeframe, get vaccinated as soon as possible or at least two weeks before departing on a trip. This gives the vaccination time to develop, providing you protection.
If you display flu-like symptoms, it’s recommended that you avoid contact with others. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. Less common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, which usually occur in children.
Avoiding contact protects other travelers who may not be vaccinated, people who have chronic conditions or other at-risk individuals like pregnant women and small children.
If you happen to be sick during travel, seek appropriate medical care. Most people find fever-reducing medicine to be effective during this time.
Not everyone with the flu will have a fever, making it hard to determine whether you are suffering from a cold or the flu. Always consult with a health care provider to receive an accurate diagnosis.
Don’t let the flu ruin your time away from home. Get the flu shot.
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.
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.
Photo credit: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi
If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in:
- Traveling Internationally? Here are the Vaccines You Might Need
- Traveling During the Holidays? Here’s Your Guide to Getting Care
- 4 Reasons Everyone Should Get A Flu Shot