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Pandemic or Not - 'Tis the Season for Flu

COVID-fatigue. It's a thing. But so is the flu, and experts say we shouldn't let our guards down, especially as we fight COVID-19. In fact, reducing or preventing the spread of the flu has never been more important.

Though caused by different viruses, both the flu and COVID-19 attack the respiratory system and may have other similar symptoms that require testing to properly diagnose.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are quick to warn about key differences with COVID-19:

  • The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) appears to spread more easily and causes more serious illnesses in some
  • It takes longer for people to show symptoms and people are contagious for longer
  • While vaccines are on the horizon, they are not yet on the market

The CDC provides more information on how symptoms between COVID-19 and the flu differ, but the most compelling difference between the two viruses is that the flu vaccine is readily available to the public.

Since it is possible to have both illnesses at the same time, preventing one altogether makes sense, yet some consumers fear that the flu vaccine could make them more susceptible to the coronavirus  —an assumption that is not supported by scientific evidence, according to the CDC.

The public has long been warned during flu season to cough and sneeze into sleeves and frequently wash hands to stop the spread of the flu. But no one was prepared for the deadly onslaught and rapid spread of COVID-19. Scientists are still learning about the virus and are racing against the clock to develop an effective, safe vaccine.

The flu shot can reduce the risk of getting the flu, and thus reduce the risk of being hit with both viruses at the same time. If you start showing flu- or COVID-like symptoms, it's best to get tested immediately so you and your physician can start treatment with antiviral medications and diagnostic tests, if necessary, to stop the progression and prevent spreading the virus(s). Regardless, the cost of a flu shot is minimal compared to the cost of treatment for flu-related complications.

Typically, the CDC recommends getting the flu shot in September or October of each year, but emphasizes that it's not too late for 2020, especially as holiday travel picks up and the likelihood of exposure to either virus is high. Plus, manufacturers are way ahead of the curve with this year's flu vaccine, which means that an abundance of the vaccine is currently available.

The CDC continues to strongly urge people to stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact with others. But, if your preventive measures fail, Bluebook can help offset the costs of treatment and lower your out-of-pocket expenses by guiding you to high-quality care at a Fair Price. By researching your care options now—before you’re sick—you'll save precious time and money if you become a victim of the flu, COVID-19, or both.

New to Healthcare Bluebook? Tour to learn how Bluebook can guide you to affordable options for high-quality healthcare today. If you’re a Bluebook member, please contact your Account Manager for more information on researching care and cost options.

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