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The Flu Season 2022

Authors:  
Stephan Deutsch, MD, Physician Consultant 
Scott Doolan, RN, BSN, MBA, AVP Health Care Management 

The Flu is a viral disease caused by Influenza A and B viruses. The annual flu season usually starts around September/October with the peak of cases typically occurring between December and February.  Because of COVID-19 it is more important than ever to get the flu vaccine.

Common Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. Complications from the Flu can affect your heart, brain, kidneys, and lungs, causing respiratory and kidney failure.  Annually the flu has been estimated to kill between 25,000 to 60,000 people per year, affecting certain groups of people worse than others. People 65 and older; people with heart disease, stroke, asthma, diabetes, cancer, pregnant women, young children, people with obesity and people with HIV and AIDs.  You can reduce your risk of getting a severe case of the flu.

Wait a minute, have I been describing the Flu or COVID? A good question because they are similar regarding the symptoms and who is at highest risk for severe case. They are also similar when it comes to how the disease is spread and prevention techniques. For both the flu and COVID-19 the best protection is a vaccine that can prevent the disease or lessen its severity. You can even get both vaccines on the same day We know that the earlier in the flu season people get vaccinated the more effective it is. In both adults and children, it has been shown that once vaccinated, even if you get the flu, the severity of the disease is significantly decreased.  

With the 2022-2023 Flu season rapidly approaching PHP’s number one goal is to educate you about the importance of getting your vaccine early. We want to help increase the access to the Flu Shot and can provide assistance with scheduling an early appointment for vaccination and arranging transportation. Your Care Manager, l can work with you to get access and can discuss the best way to keep you healthy and safe this flu season.

But what happens if you do start to feel ill? You can call StationMD, our telehealth partner, anytime, night or day, seven days a week.  Your will speak to an Emergency Room Doctor who will assess you and when possible, treat you from your home. These doctors have additional training in working with people with IDD.  In most instances this will help you avoid crowded Emergency Rooms, which   increases your exposure to the flu, COVID-19, or other infections. It has saved our members hundreds of emergency room visits and multiple unnecessary hospital admissions. Even though PHP has great programs to assist you if you get sick, what we really want to do is prevent you from getting sick. So please reach out to us so we can help you with avoiding the flu and get your vaccine.

Visit Partners Health Plan's Health Resources to learn more about the flu as well as other informative health-related articles.

 

H9869_Flu Season Article_2022

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Partners Health Plan is a managed care plan that contracts with Medicare and the New York State Department of Health (Medicaid) to provide benefits to Participants through the Fully Integrated Duals Advantage for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FIDA-IDD) Demonstration.

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The State of New York has created a Participant Ombudsman Program called the Independent Consumer Advocacy Network (ICAN) to provide participants free, confidential assistance on any services offered by Partners Health Plan. ICAN may be reached toll-free at 1-844-614-8800 (TTY users call 711, then follow the prompts to dial 844-614-8800) or online at icannys.org.