By Shari Lopatin
TriWest Healthcare Alliance
Did you know that nine out of 10 healthy people who get a flu shot, don’t get the flu?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s true! And because it takes two weeks for a flu shot’s immunity to build completely, now is the best time to get vaccinated for flu season.
Oh yeah, did you know flu season starts in September?
TRICARE Covers Flu Shots
Military families … you’re in luck! TRICARE will cover flu shots or flu mists at no cost to you. Just make sure to receive the vaccination from your local military clinic, a TRICARE network provider, or a TRICARE network pharmacy.
If you choose to get your shot at the doctor’s office, just be aware that some physicians may charge a small co-pay for the office visit. Additionally, it’s a good idea to call your local military clinic first, to find out when flu shots are available.
Coaxing Your Kids for a Flu Shot
The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against the flu. But do your kids throw a fit, or shut down when it’s time for their shots? Making the “shot experience” smooth for your children can be a challenge.
Perhaps, if they see mom or dad doing it too, they may go more willingly. That’s why we suggest leading by example. Here are some tips:
- Go for your flu shot when you take your kids for theirs.
- Offer to get your shot first. It will help to relax your kids.
- If fun or colorful bandages are available, ask to wear one alongside your children.
- Finish the flu shot appointment with a treat, such as a trip to the park or a healthy fruit smoothie.
Other Ways to Avoid the Flu
Keeping active, getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods can help you stand strong against the flu.
Besides getting a flu shot, taking these everyday steps from the CDC can help you avoid the flu, in the first place:
- Wash your hands properly. By this, we mean scrub with soap and warm water for approximately 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.”
- Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Manage your stress.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. Then, throw away the tissue. If a tissue is not available, cover your mouth with the crease from your elbow. Never use your hands! Again, this helps prevent the spread of germs.
For more information on flu prevention tips, visit www.flu.gov.