Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico Encourages Consumers to Consider Flu Vaccine
Albuquerque, NM — As the nation's flu outbreak continues to increase, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) urges New Mexicans who have not yet gotten the flu shot to consider doing so or consult with their doctor. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), most of the country is now experiencing high levels of influenza-like-illness. As of the week ending December 29, 2012, over 2,200 people had been hospitalized with flu, and 18 children had died from complications of the illness. New Mexico is reporting high influenza-like illness.
"Although this flu season is proving to be severe, people also need to consider getting themselves and their family vaccinated against other preventable illnesses, in addition to the influenza vaccine. At BCBSNM, we believe the best way to ensure adults are properly protected against vaccine preventable disease is to have a conversation with their health care provider to assess their risk factors that increase the need for certain vaccines," said Dr. Eugene Sun, Chief Medical Officer, BCBSNM.
As part of our commitment to disease prevention and management to stop illness before it occurs, BCBSNM Care Van program provides flu vaccinations, among other vaccinations, for adults and children. The Care Van complements traditional clinics by making care easily accessible for children and families. The Care Vans visit schools, health centers, health fairs, community centers and other locations throughout New Mexico. People can also get the flu vaccine at doctors' offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as through many employers and schools.
According to the CDC, adult immunization guidelines, specific vaccinations adults need depend on a number of factors including age, lifestyle, overall health, pregnancy status, and travel plans. Earlier this year, the CDC released an updated immunization schedule for adults, which stresses the increased importance of keeping adult immunizations current. In addition to influenza, a few additional vaccines that are essential to the overall health of adults include whooping cough, shingles, hepatitis A and B, as well as measles, mumps, and rubella.
The CDC recommends the following everyday preventive action steps that people can take to slow the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. This will block the spread of droplets from your mouth or nose that could contain germs.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you or your child gets sick with a respiratory illness, like flu, limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading illness. Stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to seek medical care or for other necessities. Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
- If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice. This may include information about how to increase distance between people and other measures.