Are You Prepared for Flu Season?

Flu Shot Blog Graphic-01We may be in the heart of summer, but it won’t be long before fall-the start of flu season. Peak flu season can begin as early as October and last through May. The best time to get a flu shot is in September or October. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to be most effective. Mark your flu shot on your calendar so you’re protected for the upcoming flu season.

What else should you know about flu shots? 

  • Flu shots offer valuable protection. A flu shot doesn’t guarantee you won’t get the flu, but it helps. In fact, it provides you with up to 60 percent more protection than if you don’t get one. 
  • You don’t get the flu from flu shots. Modern flu vaccines don’t use live viruses, which means you can’t catch the flu from a flu shot. 
  • You can get a flu vaccine at no cost to you. Most of our health plans allow you to get the flu vaccine at no cost when you get it from provider or pharmacy in your plan’s network. Visit PacificSource.com/flu to find providers and pharmacies near you. 
  • Pharmacies offer convenience. Most pharmacies offer drop-in flu shots with little or no waiting.

If you have insurance through PacificSource and you’re not sure the flu shot is covered, please contact our Customer Service Department. For more information, visit  PacificSource.com/flu.

Tips to Fight the Flu

  • Cover your cough with a tissue. This is a simple way to help keep the virus from spreading. Feel a cough or sneeze coming on, but don’t have a tissue? Cough or sneeze into your elbow-not your hand.
  • Wash your hands frequently. You should do this even when it’s not flu season, but it’s especially important when viruses are in the air. Wash your hands with soap and water for a full 20 seconds.
  • Get a flu shot. This is a great way to protect yourself and look out for others who share space with you at home or at work.
  • Encourage your family members to get flu shots. Fall and winter season family fun is more enjoyable when everyone is well enough to participate in activities.

Enjoy the Summer without the Burn

Sun Safety Infographic_single_0516
The dog days of summer are here. For me, that means I’m soaking up as much sunshine and happiness as possible! I really do mean sunshine AND happiness—we get Vitamin D from the sun, and that increases our serotonin levels. Increased serotonin levels means increased happiness.

The flip side of getting your Vitamin D from sunshine is that you’re also getting an increased amount of harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Those are the rays that give you sunburns and are the main cause of non-melanoma skin cancers.

In order to enjoy the sunshine without the guilt and fear of getting sunburns, wrinkles, and potentially cancer, I follow these steps:

  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Enjoy the sun, but bask in the shade.
  • Pretend that every day is derby day, and enjoy wide-brimmed hats.
  • Slather on 50 SPF sun screen ever two hours.
  • Hide behind protective clothing when I can’t find shade—like when I’m gardening or working in my yard.
  • Try to limit my time outside during the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., since this is when UV levels are highest.

For more ways to enjoy the sun without the burn, check out this infographic.

 

Ten Tips for Everyday Safety

CaptureSometimes we get so busy we forget to be safe during some of the easiest tasks. Completing day-to-day activities safely and being aware of our surroundings sounds like a simple way to increase safety in our daily routines, but it can be challenging. Here are ten steps to get you started in creating a safer and healthier environment.

  1. Use proper form. Try your best to remember proper physical form in your everyday routines. Keep things close to you on your desk or in the kitchen to avoid over-reaching, and always use your legs when picking up large or heavy items. (Avoid bending at the waist!)
  2. Be aware of your company safety procedures. Be proactive in knowing evacuation routes, members of the safety committee, and safety procedures at your workplace.
  3. Take regular breaks. Taking a quick break from looking at your computer screen or doing mundane tasks will help to re-energize you and keep you alert!
  4. Check your smoke alarms. Once a month, check the smoke alarms in your home to make sure they’re working and replace batteries as needed. Also, keep a fire extinguisher in a central, easy to access location, and learn how to use it.
  5. Let there be light. Proper, adequate lighting is an easy way to stay focused and clear about what you are doing. Keep hallways and outdoor areas well-lit to avoid obstacles.
  6. Maintain your vehicle. Make time for regular vehicle maintenance, such as checking your exterior lights, getting your oil changed, and checking your tire pressure. This is especially important before taking a road trip.
  7. Ventilate your space. When you’re painting or working on projects indoors that involve materials with strong odors, make sure you have proper ventilation. Open windows and doors, and get fans going to keep air circulating. Also, consider using face masks and taking regular fresh-air breaks, especially if ventilation is inadequate.
  8. Exercise regularly. Exercise routines are a good way to improve strength, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory health, which will allow you to physically function better throughout your day. Research functional exercises to learn more about keeping your body ready for anything!
  9. Be prepared. Thoughtfully determine what you may need to keep yourself healthy and safe during an outing or long day. Do you have sufficient water, clothing, or sun protection? Is your cell phone charged? Does a friend or loved one know where you will be?
  10. Take your time. Giving yourself time to prepare for your day, carefully complete a task, or focus on your routine can save you a lot of time in the long run! Build in extra time when necessary.

Visit PacificSource.com for free online tools and resources to help you better manage your health.