What is influenza (the flu)?
Influenza (flu) is a contagious, potentially, serious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms include tiredness, fever, chills, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle or body aches. Some people (65 years of age and older, pregnant women, children, and people with certain health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and a compromised immune system) are at a higher risk for complications from the flu. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
When is flu season?
Although flu viruses are detected year round, flu season is usually October to May in the United States though it tends to peak in December, January, and February.
Every flu season is different, and the flu affects everyone differently! Just because you have had the flu before doesn’t mean you won’t get it again or have a worse outcome the next time. Millions of people get the flu every year. Many of those people get very sick and some die from flu-related causes.
COVID-19 and the Flu
Both COVID-19 and the flu are contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses. Both have a lot of the same symptoms. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than the flu. COVID-19 can also cause more serious illnesses in more people as compared to the flu.
If you haven’t already, please get both the COVID-19 vaccine now and your yearly flu shot when it is time to help protect, yourself, your family, and the public health. You can get both at the same time.
How to Prevent the Flu
Get a flu shot.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot every year. There are several places where you can get a flu shot.
- Your Primary Care Provider
- Urgent care centers: Use the Community Health Choice Provider Directory to find one near you.
- Community health centers like Legacy, Access Health, and Avenue 360: Call before you go to see if they take appointments and how much the visit will be with or without insurance. Use the Community Health Choice Provider Directory to find one near you.
- Pharmacies like Walgreens, and stores with pharmacies like Target, Kroger, and Walmart: Call the pharmacy before you go to see if appointments are needed and how much it would be with or without insurance.
- Harris County Public Health: Free flu shots may be available. Click here to see locations and appointment requirements.
Stop the spread of germs.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs can spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick, limit your contact with others. When possible, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause the flu
Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and shorten the time you are sick if you get the medicine in time.
Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of getting sick, so see your health care provider as soon as possible.
Why Choose Community?
As a local nonprofit health plan, Community Health Choice gives you plenty of reasons to join our Community. From the benefits and special programs we offer to the way our Member Services team helps you make the most of them, Community is always working life forward for you and your family.
“I always tell people to choose Community Health Choice. I tell them it’s the best health insurance they will ever be with.”– Chandolyn
Member of Community Health Choice