Dr. Kevin Most: Flu, Viruses and ACA sign up deadline
Well it is December 11 and timing this week is important. Two things we need to worry about this week. The first is that the ACA sign up deadline is this coming Friday December 15. This year the sign up session was cut in half and instead of ending on January 31st as it was last year. So, any listeners who currently have ACA insurance make sure you sign up this week to insure coverage next year. Check with your doctor as many counties have plans that have changed so you want to make sure you can sign up for the correct plan.
The other timing issue about December 11 is that we are 2 weeks away from Christmas, 14 days. Why is that important? Well for those of you who have not received your flu shot yet, today may be a be a good day. Remember it takes 14 days for a flu shot to be effective so a flu shot today will protect you at Christmas. Traveling and being in crowds is a good reason to have your flu shot now, you won’t share the flu and it will protect you from those who have not had the vaccine and are now sick.
Now many of you may be thinking that Flu season is really not until February but this year we are seeing an early flu season. We have twice as many cases this year on December 1 than we had last year, we have 8 states who have wide spread influenza, Illinois has seen a large increase in the last 2 weeks, we have many hospitals seeing large numbers of patients in the ER’s and in the hospital.
With all of the travel that occurs in the next few weeks we expect that flu will spread a bit more quickly this month. Remember you can spread the virus before you have full blown symptoms, so travelers going thru crowded airports will aid in spreading influenza. You may have heard that the vaccine is not as effective as it has been in the past and the current strain that is circulating in the southeast, this appears to be the early case. Remember that even without a perfect vaccine match your immune system is still able to fight the flu and lessen and shorten the duration.
Seniors remember to get the high dose vaccine, this may be more important this year as the match may not be ideal this year.
So depending on who you are this is an important week for your health