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Preventing the Flu

Avoid the Flu with One Shot

One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy is to receive a flu vaccine every year. It is covered as a preventive health benefit at no charge to True Health New Mexico members.

You can receive your flu shot at no charge at any in-network pharmacy or at your primary care provider’s office. Search for a pharmacy and a provider in your area that provides flu shots. It’s a good idea to call the pharmacy or doctor’s office first to make sure the vaccine is available, and take your True Health New Mexico ID card with you.

The flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. It spreads easily. The flu is caused by an influenza virus. Most people get the flu when they breathe in tiny airborne droplets from the coughs or sneezes of someone who has the flu. You can also catch the flu if you touch something with the virus on it, and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.

People often confuse colds and flu. They are different, but you might have some of the same symptoms. Most people get a cold several times a year. On the contrary, people get the flu only once every few years.

The Flu and COVID-19

This year’s flu season could be especially dangerous, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge all our members to receive their annual flu vaccines to help them stay healthy and stay out of the hospital this fall and winter.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the flu vaccine can help reduce the overall the risk of respiratory illnesses in vulnerable populations, especially essential workers, people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and people at high risk for complications from the flu.

Why Get a Flu Vaccine?

A flu shot is your best defense against the flu. The vaccine is safe, won’t make you sick, and generally has few side effects. The flu virus changes often, and the protection from the vaccine only lasts for about a year. That’s why you should get a flu shot every year, preferably in the fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

Who Should Get a Flu Vaccine?

The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccination every year. The flu shot helps prevent you from getting the flu and from spreading it to others. Even healthy people can develop serious complications or even die from the flu — so protect yourself and your loved ones by getting vaccinated.

Vaccination is especially important for:

  • people 50 years and older
  • children 6 months through 4 years old
  • women who are or will be pregnant during flu season
  • people with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems
  • people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care centers
  • health care workers
  • people who live with or care for anyone at high risk for flu-related complications

 

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

Is the Flu Vaccine Covered by My Plan?

You can receive your flu shot at no charge at any in-network pharmacy or at your primary care provider’s office. Search for a pharmacy and a provider in your area that provides flu shots. It’s a good idea to call the pharmacy or doctor’s office first to make sure the vaccine is available, and take your True Health New Mexico ID card with you.

For more information about the flu, symptoms, exams and tests, and multi-media tools, visit Informed You’s flu page.