Your Quick Guide to Preventing the Flu
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis that is sweeping the globe, we have to start thinking about the upcoming flu season this fall and winter. Ugh.
But here’s the good news: the best way to prevent getting sick is by getting your flu shot. With the ongoing COVID-19 threat, getting your flu shot will help keep our emergency rooms from getting overwhelmed by the flu and COVID-19 patients or a twindemic. Best of all, the vaccine comes as a free benefit with every Friday health plan. There are lots of convenient places besides doctors’ offices to get your shot, including grocery stores and pharmacies - most will bill Friday so it’s free to you. Find a pharmacy near you.
While the flu vaccine is your best shot at staving off sickness, it’s important to know what you can do to strengthen your defenses and steer clear of the dreaded influenza.
1) Wash your hands and keep ‘em away from your face
We know you have heard this many times this past year, but it’s worth repeating. As way of example, only 70% of Americans wash their hands with soap after using the restroom.
Worse, lots of us will often touch our faces -- scratch our noses, rub our chins, clear the sleep sand from our eyes -- without washing our hands. This is how infections can start.
How often should you wash your hands each day?
According to the Global Hygiene Council, at least six times a day with soap (ideally ten).
2) Get plenty of sleep
Lack of sleep can dramatically affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t catch enough z’s are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. They’re also likely to make a slower recovery.
How much sleep is enough sleep? Between 7-9 hours of quality sleep should ensure your immune system is well-rested and armed with those infection-fighting antibodies to protect you throughout flu season.
We know, we know. It’s getting cold outside. But you don’t have to run a marathon or do anything crazy -- a few days of moderate physical activity each week can keep your immune system strong and decrease your risk of infection.
Important note: If you’re feeling really lousy (think: chest congestion, dizzying headaches, super sore throat), it’s probably best to take it easy until you recover!
4) Stay away from sick people!
The flu spreads through the noses and the mouths of sick people. So that co-worker who’s talking to you, the one who’s coughing into his or her hand in between sentences, s/he is spreading particles that could infect you.
Stay away from these people (and if you are one of these people, stay home! Your co-workers will thank you).
5) If you do happen to come down with the flu (sorry!), as a Friday member you have a few great, cost-effective options to get help:
Use a free doctor visit (you’ve got three of them per year)
Yep, as a Friday member, you get three free visits with your primary care doc. Have a free visit in the bag and you’re feeling fluey? Schedule an appointment and visit your doctor, for free. (Not available on the Bronze HSA plan.)
Talk to a doctor with Teladoc
Teladoc is the easiest and fastest way to get remote care from a medical professional for non-emergency illnesses like the flu.
As an extra benefit with every Friday health plan, you can speak to a doctor online or over the phone for a $0. Access Teladoc by setting up you account.
(This is an added service to your plan, so it does not go toward your deductible.)
Visit an in-network urgent care
We have a strong network of conveniently located urgent care centers. Most plans have a $75 co-pay (flat fee) to visit the urgent care*. Find one near you
*Catastrophic and Bronze HSA must first meet deductible, then urgent care is $0.
As always, if you have questions about your plan, benefits, or services, please reach out to us at Questions@fridayhealthplans.com.