Flu season has made its unwanted arrival this year so you’ll want to do everything you can to protect yourself from infection. That includes thumbing through a checklist of prevention tips and having resources on hand in case you do become sick this winter.
Flu prevention tips
Remember to practice these healthy habits during flu season:
Get vaccinated against the flu: Fall is the perfect time to get your annual flu shot. Getting a yearly shot is the best way to prevent a potentially deadly disease. Since the flu shot evolves every year, think of it as a seasonal booster dose, tailor-made to train your body’s immune system to fight the viruses that are circulating now.
Flu shots are free to individuals with health insurance. Read this 2022-2023 flu season guide to specifically learn more about this year’s flu season.
Wondering where you can go to get a flu vaccine? Visit the“Find Flu Vaccines” page on Vaccines.gov, enter your 5-digit zip code and the type of flu shot you are seeking, and a list of locations that administer the shot will appear.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick and vice versa; keep your distance from others when you are sick.
Do not work or go to school when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and avoid running errands while sick.
Cover your mouth and nose. Flu viruses spread mainly through droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk.Cover up with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Wash your hands often. This will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub like hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as much possible. Germs can spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Other healthy habits:
- Clean and disinfect surfaces at home, work, and school
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Eat a nutritious diet
- Get lots of sleep
- Get regular exercise
Flu season resources
There are resources available to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and Blue Care Network (BCN) members should you become sick and require help from a medical professional.
24-hour nurse line: Members with questions about their general health or a specific condition can lean on the 24-Hour nurse line. This service connects you with registered nurses supported by board-certified physicians that can:
- Share tips for healthy lifestyles
- Discuss at-home treatments for minor illnesses and injuries
- Answer questions about upcoming surgeries and medical tests
- Provide health education materials about rare or chronic conditions
- Teach you about preventive care like mammograms, immunizations, and prostate screenings
Walk-in clinics: When it comes to in-person care for illnesses or injuries that can’t wait for a visit with your primary care doctor.
If your symptoms are mild, a registered nurse can answer your health concerns and give advice. Calls typically last an average of 12 minutes and are at no cost to you.
- Nurse line for members with BCBSM PPO plans: 1-800-775-BLUE (2583)
- Nurse line for members with BCN HMO plans: 1-855-624-5214
Online visits: After logging into your BCBSM account, members can schedule online visits to speak with a U.S. Board certified doctor or nurse practitioner wherever and whenever you need one, through your smartphone, tablet, or computers.
This is a convenient option if you're sick and don’t want to go to your primary care physician's office. U.S. board-certified doctors are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Click here to sign up for online visits.
Walk-in clinics: Walk-in clinics include both urgent care centers and retail health clinics. They’re a good choice if your primary doctor’s office is closed and you’d like in-person care for an illness or injury. You don’t need an appointment at these clinics, and many are open during evenings and weekends.
Walk-in clinics offer:
- Assessment and treatment of minor injuries
- Convenient access to prescriptions, if needed
- Diagnostic tests like blood work and X-rays
- In-person care when your doctor isn’t available
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