The end of summer brings the start of flu season. More than one kind of flu virus will be spreading this season, including the 2009 H1N1 flu (swine flu), a new virus to which humans may have limited immunity. Although the majority of H1N1 flu cases appear to be mild and similar to seasonal flu, the continued circulation of H1N1 and the return of the seasonal flu strain could create a surge of illnesses in the community which can put strain on schools, businesses and the health care delivery system. Here are important things you need to know to protect yourself and others from the flu.
LifeWise members who have registered online have access to our secure member web site, which contains the latest information on H1N1 in our Medical Library as well as other innovative tools to help them stay healthy.
On June 11, the World Health Organization raised the pandemic alert level from Phase 5 to Phase 6 indicating that an H1N1 influenza pandemic is underway.
For the most updated information, please see the following sources of public health information:
It's better to get vaccinated early in the fall, before the flu season really gets under way. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. In the meantime, you are still at risk for getting the flu.
Vaccination is a good idea for just about everyone, especially:
If you have questions about whether you should get a flu vaccine, consult your healthcare provider
On July 29, 2009, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that novel H1N1 flu vaccine be made available first to the following five groups:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following everyday preventive actions:
More about preventing the flu:
LifeWise members can locate a flu clinic location by entering their zip code on the Mollen Immunization Clinics web site. Members can go to any flu shot location listed and present their ID card. Mollen will generate an individual bill and submit to LifeWise for reimbursement. They will not collect any member cost share at the time of the immunization.
Mollen is a contracted provider and offers clinics at many regional malls, pharmacies and grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest. No appointment is required for these clinics.
LifeWise members can call our free and confidential 24-Hour NurseLine to speak to a registered nurse who will ask the right questions, listen to your concerns, and help you determine where and when to seek treatment. The NurseLine number is listed on the back of your ID card.
You also can also find additional information about symptoms in our Medical Library.
If you have questions about your coverage call our customer service representatives at the number listed on the back of your ID card.