Fear the Flu
Nothing gets our attention more than death.
Remember back at the end of 2014 when the CDC confirmed the first case of Ebola entering the United States with a patient who passed away 9 days later at Texas Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas? Of course, no one wanted to be anywhere around if there was an outbreak of Ebola. After all, of the 15,227 laboratory confirmed cases, 11,320 have resulted in death. That’s an astounding 74% death rate. Of course no one wants to take those odds.
And then there is the list of top killers in the U.S. Number 8 on that list in the 2014 report from the CDC is the flu, which accounted for 55,227 confirmed deaths in that year. Cancer, Heart Disease, Respiratory issues and Accidents still outrank the flu–but seriously this is #8.
When we think of the flu, we don’t think of a killer disease. And that is a fair assessment. Most of us just get to enjoy a few days of fever, tiredness, headaches, coughing and overall body aches and pains.
If we are lucky enough to pass the flu to children, they get to enjoy the flu with the added prevalence of vomiting and diarrhea. And as that innocuous handshake or hug extends far beyond the intended job, we can pass the flu even without knowing it to someone with a compromised immune system and they get to face the reality of a distinctly more morbid outcome.
Now, either as fear of lifestyle inconvenience or a fear of protecting those less fortunate, you can help reduce the spread of America’s #8 killer.
The flu vaccine is your best chance of preventing the illness. Currently, the CDC recommends that anyone over 6 months of age receive an annual flu shot. Nasal sprays and egg-free vaccines are also available. While there are many different types of flu virus, the shot protects you against the viruses that experts believe will be most common that year.
Other tips for preventing the flu include the following:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay away from others when you feel ill.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. To avoid contaminating your hands, sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
- Wash your hands often using soap and warm water to protect against germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs (counter tops, shared phones at work, etc.).
- Get plenty of sleep, stay physically active and drink plenty of water to keep your immune system strong.
- Manage your stress and eat a nutritious diet rich in healthy grains, fruits, vegetables and fiber.
And did I mention, the Flu Shot can be free?
Most insurance plans purchased after 2013 include this as a 100% covered service–no cost to you. My whole family just got ours done this last week at our local pharmacy and we walked out not only helping to prevent the spread of illness for Zero money, but we go 10% of our groceries as a perk too.
At Generous Benefits, we want you to maximize your health plan at the same time maximizing your life. Check back often for more tips and insights from our team.
About the author: An avid learner and resourceful leader with a passion for problem-solving, Bret is a calming force in the chaos and fast-paced evolution of health insurance, employee benefits, and the growing burden of regulatory compliance. He helps people develop the confidence to see beyond the problem at hand and start to re-imagine their goals. Whether he’s helping a client or a colleague, Bret believes a successful interaction is one that allows us all to dream a little bigger when we’re done.
About Generous Benefits: Generous Benefits (www.generousbenefits.com) focuses on solutions that improve the community you serve.