SEATTLE — We're at the beginning of flu season, but it's never too late to take steps to keep yourself and your family healthy, including one way to avoid the emergency room even if you do get sick. From Premera Blue Cross, Dr. David Buchholz visits New Day Northwest to discuss preparation for the upcoming flu season and new virtual options for diagnosis and treatment.
The first step in protecting your family against the flu is prevention. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Infectious Diseases recommends the flu shot as the "first choice" for preventing the flu and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends preparation-appropriate flu shots for everyone starting at 6 months of age. Live attenuated influenza vaccine—or LAIV, more commonly known as FluMist—can be appropriate for healthy individuals 2 to 49 years old who prefer not to get a shot.
Flu symptoms are similar to cold symptoms. You may experience nasal congestion, cough, and sore throat, and the flu usually also comes with fever, chills, headache and body ache. Cold symptoms are milder and short lived. In most cases, colds can be diagnosed and treated without a trip to the Doctor.
If you think you have the flu, drink plenty of fluids, rest, and take something for the fever and aches and consider using a virtual care option to speak with a doctor, instead of starting at urgent care or the emergency room. Your doctor's office may offer this option or you may have access through your health insurance.
If you are a Premera member, you may be able to use Teladoc, the largest and provider of telehealth medical consultations in U.S. Teladoc provides its members fast, affordable, 24-hour access to U.S. Board-certified, state-licensed physicians who can resolve many medical issues by phone, secure online video and mobile applications wherever the member is.
This is a great time to set up your virtual care account and get your medical history up-to-date so you can access care quickly if you need it later this year.