Thursday, March 20, 2008

When to get Flu Shots

Eeach year we hear on the news, radio, internet to get your flu shot as early as possible before they run out. Well, this year maybe a good time to get a flu shot if you haven't already.

I have been talking to a lot of patients (while collecting on their outstanding balances - I am in the medical billing industry) and they are telling me nasty stories about this horrible flu that is going around. It includes things like dizziness, diaherea, stomach issues and not being able to go to work for 3-5 days. Of course, sometimes I wonder why patients tell someone over the phone who called to collect on their outstanding bills about having to run to the bathroom, not going to work because what do you do sit on the toilet all day.... (gross)

So you maybe asking yourself when do you get a flu shot? Flu shots in the US are given late October through March; but flu season can last into the month of May.

Who should get flu shots?
*All members of a medical office should be given a flu shot
*Anyone who has interactions with patients (especially sick patients) should get the flu shot
*Children should get the flu shot
*Adults 65+ should get the flu shot
*Anyone else who doesn't want to get the flu
*People with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disese should get the flu shot
*Nursing Homes
*Long Term Care Facilities

Complications of flu can include:
*Bacterial pheumonia
*ear infections
*sinus infections
*worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes

If you are 65 or older you can receive a yearly flu shot. Their is no cost to the patient as long as they are treated by a In-Network provider and you are covered under the Medicare Part B plan. Medicare Part D does not cover flu shots.

On Average 36,000 people die each year in the United States due to seasonal flu and complications arising from the flu. The majority of deaths occuring in those 65 and older.

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