Get your flu shot, wash your hands often, and wear a mask!
Sponsored by HMAA
Flu season is officially upon us, and Hawaii Medical Assurance Association is helping to keep you and your family healthy through its flu prevention program.
Flu shots are completely free for HMAA members. They can get the vaccine from their primary care doctor, or through HMAA’s Flu Prevention Program. Members also have the option to get it at their worksite when their employer schedules an onsite clinic, or at selected pharmacies such as Times.
The Times Pharmacy on-site flu clinic is a convenient service to make getting flu shots as easy as possible at your site of employment.
“We coordinate with health plans, like HMAA’s Flu Prevention Program, and directly with local companies to host and schedule the preferred date and time for your employees to receive their annual flu vaccine,” says Allysah Magboo. “Times Pharmacy is dedicated to protecting our community through flu vaccination. We also encourage employees to invite family and friends so they can protect their loved ones as well.”
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza. The vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, missed work, and school absences because of the flu.
Pregnant women can and should get their annual flu shot because they have an increased susceptibility to having a more severe case of the flu than a woman of reproductive age who isn’t pregnant. This occurs because of the various changes to the immune system and other organs in the woman’s body during pregnancy and up to two weeks postpartum. Additionally, flu vaccination of pregnant women helps to protect the baby before and after birth because the vaccinated mom passes on antibodies to the baby.
Patients who are six months of age and older can receive a flu vaccine. If the patient is 14-17 years old, a Times pharmacist can provide the vaccination with a prescription from the patient’s primary care provider. Patients who are 18 and older can walk in to one of the 13 Times pharmacies and receive a flu vaccination.
The best time of year to receive a flu vaccination is in September or October. The flu vaccine may have reduced efficacy later in the flu season if it’s given too early, such as in July or August. However, it’s still beneficial to receive a flu vaccination even later in the season, such as in January or in the following months. Many health plans, like HMAA, also cover this vaccination at 100 percent.
In addition to getting your flu shot, maintaining good hygiene can help keep you and others healthy! Washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting sick. Make sure to do it frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when possible.
If you’re going to be around other people, make sure to use a face mask and keep your distance of at least 6 feet. With the current pandemic, it’s important to take added precautions and follow CDC guidelines to protect ourselves and our communities from not only the coronavirus, but also from other respiratory infections like the flu.
For more information: hmaa.com, or on Facebook and Instagram: @HMAAWellness