Although the flu is very common, it’s not something to underestimate – especially for older adults or adults with health problems. In the best-case scenario, the flu is inconvenient, but in the worst case scenarios, it can lead to serious health complications or even death. Getting a flu shot each year can help you stay safe, and they’re usually available for free. December 1 – 7 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and it’s the perfect time to make sure you’re up to date on your flu shot. Here’s what you need to know about the flu and how Medicare can help you stay safe.

What Is the Flu and Why Is It Dangerous? 

The flu is short for influenza, and it’s a virus that can cause a range of symptoms. While some of these symptoms are similar to a cold, the flu is typically more intense. The flu normally starts with a sudden fever or chills, as well as body aches, headaches, and fatigue. It is typically followed by a sore throat, a cough, and a runny nose.

For many people, the flu only lasts a few days. However, the flu can lead to more serious health complications, such as ear infections, pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscles, or even organ failure. Those over the age of 65 are at increased risk of complications from the flu. Anyone with a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, is also at risk for increased complications from the flu.

Medicare and the Flu

It’s very easy to get a free flu shot with Medicare. Medicare Part B covers one free flu shot per year. If you have Medicare Advantage, you’ll likely also get a free flu shot, and you may even get more comprehensive flu treatment if you do catch it. The virus mutates every flu season, and new flu shots are developed to combat that year’s flu strain. Because of this, it’s very important to get a new flu shot every year.

How to Prevent the Flu

Of course, the best way to prevent getting the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year. However, there are other things you can do to reduce your chances of catching it. If you know someone who has the flu, avoid contact with them until they are healthy again. You should also wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This will reduce the chances of the virus spreading.

Getting a regular flu shot is the easiest way to stop yourself from getting the flu. Medicare offers free flu shots to help you stay healthy. To learn more about your Medicare options, contact Time for 65’s licensed partnered agents. Fill out this form or give us a call today to see how we can help.