Stay Healthy - Get Your Flu Shot!

The leaves are changing and temperatures are dropping, which means that fall has officially arrived! This season can be an enjoyable time of year for many people and their families. However, it can also be a period of sickness for some if they do not take the appropriate measures to stay healthy. Some of the most common illnesses in the fall and winter months are varying flu viruses and the common cold. In fact, more than 200,000 people in United States are hospitalized by the flu virus each year, and for more than 36,000 people, it is even fatal.

While the flu is not a deadly disease to everyone, it can still be a serious threat to your healthy lifestyle, work productivity, and school attendance. It can also spread to family or other community members. Those who are especially at risk to serious harm are babies and elderly citizens who may not have strong or fully developed immune systems. During this time of year, they can be more exposed to illness than usual. For these reasons, it is important for you and those around you to take a few healthy precautionary steps to prevent sickness and potential outbreaks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides suggested guidelines for flu and cold prevention; some of this guidance includes healthy eating and sleeping habits, in addition to simply washing your hands often. Another important way to avoid the flu bug is through annual flu vaccinations. The CDC recommends a yearly flu shot, and they also provide a helpful guide that explains who may be at greater risk to developing flu-related complications. Studies say that the flu vaccination can keep you up to 50%-60% healthier during the peak outbreak season, which is between October and March. While, the CDC cannot guarantee that you will not get sick, the vaccine has proven to decrease flu-related doctor’s office visits and hospitalizations.

To find a location near you that offers the flu vaccine, use the Vaccine Locator website provided by the CDC. Generally, flu vaccinations can be administered through any local doctor’s office, clinic, or health department. There are many other locations that offer the vaccination as well. The more places that offer access to the vaccination, the quicker we are able to fight any local outbreaks in your community. If you are interested in setting up a location closer to your community or workplace, the CDC offers further guidance for clinic planning.

For additional information on related government benefits, check out the Healthcare and Medicaid/Medicare categories on Benefits.gov. On our site, by using the Benefit Finder, you can find useful information about many benefits, including Medicaid, Medicare, Child Health Plus (CHIP), Dental Care and more. For other ongoing Benefits.gov updates, you can subscribe to our quarterly Compass eNewsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!

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