CONTACT: Jenna McPhee
Flu shots keep you healthy and help lower health costs during flu season
Boston October 4, 2010 As flu season rapidly approaches, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) encourages members to get a flu shot to help prevent the spread of the flu virus. By staying healthy, members can eliminate trips to the doctor or hospital, which will help reduce unnecessary health care costs. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the flu generates a cost of approximately $87 billion per year in the United States.
Vaccines play an important role in the effort to fight influenza. More than 23,600 people die each year from the flu and roughly 200,000 are hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most at risk are children younger than 2, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and patients with chronic diseases.
"This year, only one flu shot will be necessary to sufficiently protect people from most common and dangerous viruses, including the 2009 H1N1 flu as well as other seasonal flu strains," said Dr. Tom Hawkins, a Medical Director for BCBSMA. "By taking a proactive approach to their health care, people can do their part to prevent the spread of the flu in the community, keep themselves and others out of the hospital, and help keep health care costs down."
BCBSMA members can receive vaccinations at no cost when they visit an in-network health care provider, participating pharmacy, or retail flu clinic location. Many participating locations include: grocery stores, pharmacies, senior centers and BJ's, Walmart, and Sam's Club1. Members can also visit one of 20 participating CVS Limited Services MinuteClinics. To find a participating location visit: www.bluecrossma.com/flu, or call the number on the front of their member ID card.
Important 2010-2011 Flu Season Facts
Flu Symptoms and Treatment
The symptoms associated with seasonal flu strains include: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting may also occur. If you develop flu symptoms, there are a number of steps you can take to get healthy:
Tips for Staying Healthy this Flu Season Watch a video
For more information, visit the CDC website at: www.cdc.gov/flu. Massachusetts residents looking for up-to-date flu information should call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, toll free, at 1-866-627-7968 or visit www.mass.gov/dph/flu.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (http://www.bluecrossma.com/) was founded 73 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to nearly 3 million members. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers, and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
1 Not all locations may participate. To find a participating location visit www.bluecrossma.com/flu.