The flu, also known as the influenza virus, is diagnosed year-round in the U.S. The fall and winter seasons are when the largest impact is usually seen, and therefore is considered "Flu Season".
Every year at the beginning of the fall season, people are urged to get a flu vaccine. The vaccine can be provided at a reasonable cost at local pharmacies or a local health department. Doctors, or local clinics can also administer the vaccines, but usually at a higher cost. As the flu can be highly contagious, many precautions are taken to try and prevent the spread of the flu as well. If a certain percentage of students in a particular school for example contract the flu, it is not unusual for the school to close and go through an intense cleaning and disinfecting process to try and stop the spread of the virus.
Flu vaccines are meant to develop antibodies that provide protection against the different strains of the virus, and usually develop within 2 weeks of receiving the vaccine. Some years the vaccine is more effective than others. When creating the vaccine, it can mutate and become less effective against different strains of the virus. This year, the vaccine did mutate making it only about 10% effective.
The CDC or Center for Disease Control, has now classified this year's flu season, as an epidemic, due to the large outbreaks across the U.S., and the severity of the virus strains people are contracting. Certainly, people with underlying health issues such as heart conditions, lung conditions, diabetes and other health issues are at a greater risk for complications or death from the flu, as are older people and very young children. However, some years, people without underlying health conditions have serious complications, and there are an increased number of deaths causing alarm.
If you are going to be traveling to the U.S., it is always recommended to have Travel Medical Insurance as healthcare costs in the U.S. are very high and can help protect you from catastrophic out of pocket expenses for treatment and care. If someone were to have complications from the flu and needed to be hospitalized, the charges would be well into the thousands of dollars; the extent of the costs would depend on the severity of the patient's medical condition. Because you cannot purchase insurance that will cover someone who is already sick or injured, it is recommended to have it in place before traveling. Travel Medical Insurance plans will not cover the Flu vaccine as it is considered preventative, but can cover treatment and care if you contract the virus.
We offer Travel Medical Insurance options to meet your coverage needs as well as options to fit your budget. Purchasing Travel Medical insurance can be an easy process as there are no documents that need to be submitted, and coverage can start as early as the next day. You can obtain information, quotes and even purchase Travel Medical insurance online, or if you would prefer, you can contact us to speak with a licensed professional for assistance.