*I have received promotional consideration from MinuteClinic for today’s discussion about flu shots. Thoughts are my own.*
While we had been enjoying warmer than usual temperatures for much of October, today was definitely a reminder that winter is on its way to Minnesota. Today the first snow flurries dropped in our area, and even though I’ve lived in this state my whole life, I’m never quite ready for it. Last winter was a brutal one for both low temperatures and snowfall. While it was a tough time, we tried to make the best of it and enjoy the good aspects of the season.
The colder weather also reminds me that flu season is on its way. Are you ready for it?
CVS offers flu shots in their pharmacies with MinuteClinics available in select locations to make it even more convenient for you to be prepared.
What is the Difference Between a MinuteClinic and Regular CVS Pharmacy?
If you are lucky enough to have a select CVS location with a MinuteClinic, it will be administered by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant to children as young as 18 months while other CVS pharmacies administer flu shots with a certified immunizing pharmacist and start at adolescents. (Exact age will vary.If you have a child between 6 and 18 months, they should receive their vaccination from a pediatrician.) You can read more about the differences between the two here. MinuteClinic is open 7 days a week, including evenings and weekends. No appointment necessary.
CVS wants to arm you with some knowledge this flu season by answering some common questions.
What is the “flu”?
The flu is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. It can develop very quickly and with flu, you always have a fever. Other common symptoms include headache, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy or runny nose and
muscle aches (ugh).
How serious is it?
Certain people are at greater risk for complications with the flu, including seniors, young children, pregnant women and those with certain health conditions like asthma or diabetes. A misdiagnosed flu can lead to complications, so
if you are unsure if it’s the flu or a cold, see your doctor or MinuteClinic practitioner.
When is “flu season?”
The timing, severity and length of the annual flu season varies from one season to another, but outbreaks can begin as early as October, and tends to peak around January or later.
For how long is it contagious?
The flu can be passed on even before someone realizes they’re sick, since most healthy adults can infect others 1 day before and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Children or those with weakened immune systems, that period is even longer.
Will it be covered by insurance?
Health insurance plans, including Medicare Part B, typically cover the full cost of a flu shot, and MinuteClinic accepts most insurance! They also accept cash payment. And…BONUS! Customers will receive a 20% off CVS/pharmacy Shopping pass when they get a flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic.
How can I protect myself and my family?
Vaccination is the first line of defense against the flu. Eating right, exercising and getting plenty of rest can also help, but the single most effective way to avoid getting the flu to get a seasonal flu shot!
Who should get the shot?
Since getting a seasonal flu vaccine is the single most effective way to prevent getting the flu, the CDC recommends that anyone ages six months or older be vaccinated, including those who were vaccinated last season. (At
MinuteClinic, they vaccinate 18 mos. and older.)
Try some of these daily tips to keep healthy and help to prevent cold and flu:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, especially after you cough or sneeze.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, and discard of the tissue in the trash. Sneeze into your sleeve if a tissue is not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as germs can spread easily that way.
- Avoid contact with those who are sick. Flu is thought to be mainly spread from person-to-person contact (coughing and sneezing doesn’t help!).
- If you’re sick, stay home from school or work to keep others from getting infected.
Learn more about the flu from the CDC and MinuteClinic’s vaccination offerings to help you and your family prevent the flu this season! You can also follow CVS on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on all the latest news.