Cold & flu season is a trying time for families and single individuals, alike. Learn about 5 steps to prepare ahead of this season, and use your FSA!
Cold & flu season is a trying time for families and single individuals, alike. A cold or the flu can leave you or loved ones out of commission for days or even weeks at a time. But,the early fall is the perfect time to build a healthy foundation for the coming months. Best of all, your flexible spending account (FSA) will make it even easier to get there!
Get a flu shot!
A flu vaccine is the most reliable means of preventing the spread of influenza, and for the 2016-2017 season, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends use of the flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). Some of these shots protect for as many as 4 different strains of the influenza virus (based to match the most common circulating viruses), so be sure to go over your options with your doctor or pharmacist to find the ideal vaccine for your age and state of health.
Tip #1: Don't forget to submit a claim - flu shots are FSA eligible expenses!
Tip #2: Shop for Cold & Allergy products with your FSA at FSAstore.com!
Invest in hand sanitizer
Common colds and flu viruses are primarily spread by coming into contact with objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the germs of cold sufferers. The presence of these germs could put you at risk of contracting a virus, which is why hand sanitizer is a great investment in the fall. Look for a product that contains an alcohol concentration between 60 and 95 percent to ensure that it will kill viruses and bacteria.
Tip #3: Hand sanitizer is an OTC product that is eligible for FSA reimbursement with a prescription from a doctor!
Enjoy the great outdoors
One of the best defenses for staying healthy during the fall months is staying active. It's great to bundle up and head outside for some exercise, even on colder days. Exercise boosts your overall fitness level, which can strengthen your immune system to fight against potential infections.
Tip #4: Get ready for the great outdoors with Travel Essentials!
Maintain a proper sleep schedule
Daylight Savings Time is just around the corner. Adequate sleep is vital in preventing colds and infections. Sleep deprivation can have an adverse effect on the immune system by leaving one more susceptible to seasonal viruses. Adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, while children should get 9-11 hours.
Prepare for inevitable sick days
Even with these mindful, healthy lifestyle changes, catching a cold can happen at any time. Make sure you have the ability to bounce back if you take a sick day. Stock up on comfort foods like soup, fruit juices with vitamin C and herbal teas.
Tip #5: Your FSA can cover a wide range of OTC medications. It can cover decongestants, pain relievers and expectorants. You'll need a prescription for FSA reimbursement of these items!
Before cold & flu season hits, make sure you have everything you need to keep your family healthy by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA/HSA/HRA-eligible products!
You may have heard of them before, but neti pots can be a great, drug-free way to get rid of nasal congestion. Learn more about them on the blog!
What is a Neti pot?
Neti pots are devices designed for nasal irrigation. Millions of Americans rely on Neti pots to treat sinus problems and provide nasal congestion relief. Neti pots rely on a nasal saline solution that mixes salt and warm water to flush out passages.
Neti pots have roots in the yoga/Ayurvedic medical traditions. They have become increasingly popular in recent years, despite being extremely effective in Western medicine for decades earlier. Neti pots can help relieve congestion, facial pain and pressure. They help sinus cavities to drain freely by thinning secretions, eliminating allergens/bacteria/irritants, and improving one's nasal and sinus health.
How do I use a Neti pot?
Before you use the neti pot, you'll need to create a saline solution of salt and sanitized water to help drain nasal passages. You'll need to combine a 1/4 teaspoon of finely ground, non-iodized salt with 8 ounces of distilled, boiled or filtered water to create this salt mixture. The salt needs to get completely dissolved in the liquid. Lukewarm water is the most comfortable temperature for draining nasal passages.
To start,tilt your head over a sink at an angle. Begin pouring the Neti pot into the first nostril, and it will actually first drain out of the opposite one. Remember to breathe through your mouth to keep your throat sealed as you empty half of the pot per nostril. Blow your nose after emptying out the Neti pot.
Shop for Cold & Flu products, including Neti pots, at FSAstore.com!
Can having wet hair outside make you sick? It's a question that people often wonder about, and we'll examine the science behind it in this blog post.
Temperature, wet hair and the common cold
Whether it's the depths of winter or a chilly spring morning, walking around with wet hair may seem merely inconsequential. While it may leave you feeling chilly, it's important to note that the common cold is caused by a virus, not a sudden drop in body temperature. Dr. Pritish Tosh, a physician with the Mayo Clinic, explained this view in an article for the Huffington Post.
"In order to get an infection, you need to be exposed to an infectious agent," Tosh told the news source. "That's what you need to get infected. Going out with wet hair is not going to directly cause an infection. I think more so it just makes people uncomfortable."
However, a recent study published by Yale University in 2015 found that a slight chill can increase the speed in which rhinoviruses (a common cold pathogen) multiply in lab mice, so while it is not a direct cause of contracting the cold, outside conditions like temperatures, wet hair or not wearing sufficient clothing could create the conditions for a common cold to overcome an immune system's defenses.
The Verdict: Wet hair does not make you sick directly! However, it's best to dry your hair year-round before leaving the house to avoid creating optimal conditions for cold and flu viruses to spread. Ultimately, the best defense against a common cold is preventing the spread of germs by using hand sanitizer frequently, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing and actively washing your hands after spending time in public. But, drying your hair before leaving the house couldn't hurt either!
And, of course, always be prepared for any health issue by shopping the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products at FSAstore.com!
If you're already dealing with a cold, shopour Cold & Allergy products for relief!
Sometimes it's hard to tell whether your child is dealing with the common cold or allergies. How can you know? Here are 4 ways to find out on the blog!
With the arrival of a new season comes its own share of health challenges, especially when those pollen counts begin to soar. If you haven't tested your child for seasonal allergies, why not do that this season? Sensitivity to environmental triggers could emerge at any point during adolescence. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell whether you're dealing with the common cold or a direct response to seasonal allergies.
Here are a few ways to know if it's a cold or allergies:
Duration of symptoms
One of the tell-tale signs of allergies is that they will persist for weeks on end. The common cold which typically clears up in 1-2 weeks with rest and treatment. As long as your child is exposed to indoor/outdoor areas with allergy triggers, he/she will continue to experience symptoms throughout the season, so this is a clear indication that a cold is not the culprit.
Nasal discharge color
In the event that your child has contracted a virus, the color of his/her mucous is an important warning sign that can let you know what your child is suffering from. During a cold, mucous becomes thicker, as well as taking on a green or yellow hue, while those suffering nasal congestion from allergies will have clear, thinner mucous. However, it's important to note that sinus infections can sometimes be caused by allergies and will change mucous color to yellow, so be mindful of this when making a diagnosis.
Shop for Saline Nasal Spray
Product of the week: Boogie Wipes
Allergies can bring about many of the most common cold symptoms, but others only arise in the presence of a virus. A fever and body aches are normal immune system responses, as well as clear signs that the body is fighting an infection and is actively producing antibodies to stave it off. These bodily functions do not occur as a result of allergies.
Shop for Hot and Cold Packs
Product of the week: Bruder My-Medi Cold Compress for Children
Last but not least, if you find that your child tends to experience watery eyes, a runny nose or sneezing more often outdoors than at home, this is a clear sign that the allergens present in the environment are triggering his/her symptoms. Endeavor to keep your home as allergen-free as possible by removing clothing at the door, cleaning often and encouraging your child to shower frequently to remove any allergens still present on his/her skin and hair.
Shop for Cold and Allergy products
Spring is here, so make sure you're ready for the worst of allergy season by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help keep you and your loved ones healthy year-round.
Dealing with a cold? Learn about 4 ways to treat cold symptoms with a Flexible Spending Account on the FSAstore.com blog.
Are you suffering from a cold, and is it getting worse? Can a cold be fueled by not getting enough sleep or dealing with stress? It's certainly possible, according to an article on WebMD.
What are some ways to treat cold symptoms? Here are suggestions to help you get rid of a cold and alleviate pain:
De-stress and Rest up. In an article, WebMD experts say, "If you feel tired, overworked, sad, or angry, those emotions can sink your mood. That can slow your immune system just when you need it running at full power to fight the cold virus."They added, "Listen to your body when you feel a cold coming on. Get all the sleep you can. Get a handle on your stress -- it can quickly send a cold into high gear. "
Dealing with a cold is never great, but luckily your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can jump in and offer some much-needed relief. An eye mask can not only relieve puffy eyes, sinus pressure and more, but can also provide soothing relief. The comprehensive Comfort Bundle will ensure you have everything to treat sore muscles, reduce stress, get rid of headaches or neck pain and more.
Check out: TheraPearl Hot orCold Therapy Eye Mask
Check out: Comfort Bundle
Drink Plenty of Fluids. Aside from de-stressing, making sure your body stays hydrated plays an important part in kicking that cold to the curb. Drink plenty of fluids (they will also help thin out mucus) and get enough rest.
Use Steam. A hot shower or a warm steam vaporizer can do wonders to loosen up congestion and provide some relief to headaches, sinus pressure and a stuffy nose. Neti pots with saline solution can also thin out mucus and clear your sinuses. You can easily shop for various Cold & Allergy products to treat your cold symptoms and get the relief you need.
Check out: Warm Steam Vaporizer
Check out: Neti pots
Tackle it with Cold Medicine. Get some over-the-counter medications to treat the onset of cold symptoms. You can still buy these products but will need a prescription for FSA reimbursement. Learn more about the Rx Process on our site, where we can help you get the OTC Rx products you need when you submit a prescription to us.
Shop for prescription FSA Rx cold medications at FSAstore.com
Check out the Cold & Allergy category for more product options to treat a cold, allergies or sinus pressure.
Ever been outside in cold weather for too long, leaving your extremities red, stinging and burning soon after coming indoors? Learn about frostbite!
What is frostbite?
Frostbite is a dangerous medical condition that results in the damage of skin and underlying tissue after being exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Frostbite is a natural result of the body trying to preserve warmth in cold temperatures by the narrowing of the blood vessels at the skin's surface in extremities, which forces blood inward toward the torso to keep internal organs warm. These blood vessels will expand and contract to stay as warm as possible, but if temperatures become cold enough, ice crystals can begin to form within these skin cells, freezing the tissue and potentially causing lasting damage to these extremities.
How do I spot frostbite?
Frostbite takes on a series of stages depending on the temperature/wind chill and how long extremities are exposed to extreme temperatures or direct contact with ice, freezing metals or very cold liquids. These stages include:
Frostnip: This is the earliest stage of frostbite that does not permanently damage the skin. During this stage, the skin of the extremities turns red and feels cold to the touch, but over time could lead to prickling pain and numbness, which can persist as the skin re-warms.
Superficial Frostbite: After an extended period of time in extreme temperatures, exposed skin will advance from reddish numbness and begin to lose its color and become pale as ice crystals form in the underlying skin layers. However, during this stage, as the skin begins to re-warm, it can result in blisters, swelling and bruises.
Severe Frostbite: If frostbite continues unabated, extreme temperatures will continue to penetrate through the skin layers to affect the deeper tissue. This condition is known for its extreme numbness and loss of sensation of cold or pain, as well as a deterioration of the joints and muscles. After re-warming, black blisters will form in the days following, and if significant amounts of tissue die, this could lead to gangrene and possible amputation of the extremity.
How is frostbite treated?
The best treatment for frostbite is prevention. Before heading outdoors, be sure to check the weather forecast and dress appropriately for the temperature, wind speed and precipitation. However, if you suspect that frostbite symptoms are present, you should keep the following tips in mind:
Gently re-warm affected areas: Warm (not hot) water is the best option to slowly re-warm injured areas, so keep them submerged for 15 to 30 minutes until they have returned to a normal temperature. Shop for hot/cold packs.
Take an oral pain medication: Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medications are a wise choice when re-warming your extremities, as this process can be extremely painful and these medications can limit your discomfort. Note: OTC medications require a prescription for FSA reimbursement.
Protect affected areas: Even after re-warming, pay particular attention to those areas of skin that were exposed to extreme temperatures in the following days. Keep them wrapped to promote healing and monitor their condition for signs of bruising or blistering.
Consider medical attention: As a rule of thumb, if you have frostbite symptoms more advanced than frostnip, you should seek medical attention. However, if you do not consult a doctor, be sure to reconsider if blistering, bruising or numbness persists for several days, or if wounds begin to feel hot or extremely painful, the signs of an underlying infection.
As winter gets underway, make sure you have everything you need to keep you and your family healthy all season long at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to help you make the most of your healthcare benefits.
Suffering from a cold or sinus pain? Learn about 6 of our favorite products to treat a cold in a drug-free way. Shop for these with an FSA at FSAstore.com!
Colds are a fact of life, but just because you're dealing with one, doesn't mean you have to let it overpower the day. You can easily use your Flexible Spending Account to effectively treat a cold with a variety of items (and many of them are drug-free).
There are different types of remedies you can try for treating a cold, and certainly there are products that can tackle various types of pains associated with a cold.
Got puffy eyes?
When you're dealing with a cold or allergies, red and puffy eyes are often a symptom of your body's response. Luckily, there's a special hot or cold therapy eye mask that can help relieve puffy, dry eyes and reduce swelling or soreness from nasal congestion or sinus headaches. Say goodbye to the sinus pain, and instead relax with the eye mask.
You can use the eye mask either cold or hot, and it'll adjust to your face shape and provide the relief and comfort you need.
Check out: TheraPearl Eye Mask at FSAstore.com
Need to monitor a fever?
Easily take care of yourself or your family through the Kinsa Smartphone Thermometer, which not only gives quick 10-second readings but also lets you monitor fevers for everyone in the family. The Kinsa thermometer connects to your smartphone through a free app for iOS and Android.
Shop for Kinsa Smartphone Thermometer
If you have a little one at home, the TempTraq Bluetooth Thermometer for baby will help you monitor baby's temperature in a convenient, non-invasive way through a soft and comfortable patch. You can monitor your baby's fever in the next room over through (up to 40 feet away) the TempTraq app, and even share temperature data via email with your doctor or family members.
Shop for TempTraq Baby Bluetooth Thermometer
Are you children sick?
Unlike regular dry tissues, Boogie Wipes Saline Nose Wipes can help kids noses by dissolving mucus from a common cold or more. These wipes are specially formulated to clean and moisturize, and also dissolve mucus. They're soft, hypoallergenic, and alcohol, phthalate and paraben free!
Shop for Boogie Wipes at FSAstore.com
Want to provide cooling or warm therapy relief?
Another great item for the kids are Thermal-Aid Zoo Animals. These natural, drug-free hot or therapy stuffed animals can easily be heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer for comfort. They are made from 100% natural cotton and a specially-engineered corn that produces the hot/cold element. They're also washable and can be used to reduce fever and other types of pain.
Give your kids cuddly relief with an FSA through Thermal-Aid Zoo Animals!
Alternatively, you may need some relief, as well. Shop the Cara SelectHeat LCD Moist or Dry Heating pad for your own comfort.
Congested and havesinus pain?
Dealing with nasal congestion or sinus pressure is never fun, but your FSA can come in handy if you're looking to treat these symptoms. Your FSA can cover saline sprays, warm steam vaporizers, personal handheld steam inhaler and more.
Shop for these and other Cold and Allergy products
Shop for Children's Cold and Allergy products
Of course, you can also buy products like Benadryl or Claritin or Sudafed, but these items will require a prescription to be reimbursed by an FSA.
It's cold and flu season. Did you know your FSA can help prevent these two? Discover three ways to fight the flu with your FSA.
With the temperatures falling and the landscape turning its familiar shades of orange, red and brown, the brilliance of fall is finally here in full swing!
A new season brings its own share of new health concerns for your loved ones, and none are greater than the threat of the flu virus.
Flu season is unpredictable, as the timing, severity and length of the season vary from one year to the next and assorted strains of the virus may emerge throughout fall and winter.
If you use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you are uniquely prepared to tackle the coming season and safeguard your family's health.
Here are a few ways to get started on fighting the flu with your FSA:
- Get vaccinated!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends receiving a vaccination soon after it becomes available, typically by early October. It will take about two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body to provide protection against the virus, so it's advisable to plan early. It's important to remember that flu vaccines only protect against strains that figure to be most prominent during the coming season, so you should still be wary of coming into contact with sick people and aim to wash your hands regularly.
Browse other covered expenses with the Eligibility List.
- Know the symptoms
The flu is often characterized by coughing, chills, fever, headache, body aches, runny nose and a sore throat, and the illness can be contracted by anyone at any age. If you notice that a loved one is having trouble breathing or exhibiting these types of symptoms, don't hesitate to make an appointment with a doctor to have him or her checked out (the cost of which can be reimbursed through your FSA!) Additionally, if it is a young child, be sure to notify babysitters and other people he/she may have come into contact with recently.
- Prepare ahead with cold/flu supplies
With an FSA at your disposal, the early fall is the perfect time to use those tax-free funds you've accrued over the course of the year to prepare for the many colds and viruses your family will contend with over the course of the cold weather months.
Antihistamines, cough syrup/drops, effervescent tablets, expectorants, pain relief medications and much more are covered by your FSA or HSA when prescribed by your doctor, and getting your prescription to purchase then now before cold and flu season will help you stay ahead of potential ailments all season long.
For example, did you know thatVicks Warm Steam vaporizers are covered?
Shop for Cold/Allergy products at FSAstore.com
Before flu season hits, be sure to check out FSAstore.com for everything you need to support your family's health and wellness.We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products and a simple prescription process to help you make the most of your employee benefits!
There seems to be a blurred line between the common cold and the flu, but it’s important to know the difference. Learn more on the blog about these two.
There seems to be a blurred line between the common cold and the flu, but it's important to know the difference. Similar symptoms tend to be more severe along with other negative effects when you have the flu. A cold is a milder respiratory illness that can make you feel bad for a few days, while the flu can make you feel quite ill for a few days to weeks. The flu can also yield more serious health problems down the road such as pneumonia and hospitalizations.
How to treat a Cold
You're contagious the first two or three days of your cold, so make sure to stay home and rest up. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated as your immune system uses up a lot of water to battle cold symptoms.
Since colds are caused by a viral infection, antibiotics will not help in treating your cold. Over-the-counter medications prescribed by your doctor are eligible expenses with your Flexible Spending Account. For example, anti-histamines, decongestants, and acetaminophen can help relieve congestion, aches, and other cold symptoms.
Some people also take supplements like zinc, vitamin C, or echinacea but studies haven't confirmed whether these remedies help speed up the recovery process or alleviate symptoms. Colds usually clear up within a few days, but see a doctor if your cold hasn't improved in about a week or if you develop persistent fevers. Potential reasons could be that you have allergies, a bacterial infection, asthma, or bronchitis.
Is your little one sick at home? You can shop for specific products for kids, whether it's thermometers, nasal aspirators or even hot/cold therapy stuffed animals.
Shop for Thermal-Aid at FSAstore.com
Shop for Cold Products
|Cold Symptoms:||Flu Symptoms:|
|Runny or stuffy nose||Runny or stuffy nose|
|Sore throat||Sore throat|
|Mild to moderate fever||Moderate to high fever (not everyone will run a fever)|
|Cough||Dry, hacking cough|
|Body aches||Severe muscle or body aches|
|Mild tiredness||Profound fatigue (may last up to two weeks)|
How to Treat the Flu
The flu is another upper respiratory illness that can develop into a more serious condition such as pneumonia. Young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with immunocompromising health conditions such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes are especially vulnerable.
Unlike colds, which can hit at any time of year, flu season typically runs from fall to spring with a peak during the winter months. You can catch the flu the same way you catch a cold - by coming into contact with an infected person.
The active strains of the flu virus vary from year to year which is why a new flu vaccine is formulated and released each year. Getting flu shots is an eligible expense with your Flexible Spending Account.
Just as with a cold, fluids and rest are the best way to treat the flue. Your doctor might also prescribe over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers you can purchase with an FSA to control your symptoms. In addition, you might be prescribed antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu), zanamivir (Relenza), or peramivir (Rapivab) to treat the flu. These FSA eligible medicines will shorten the duration of the flu and prevent an onset of pneumonia. However, they must be taken within the first 48 hours of getting sick to have a positive impact. Note: You will need a prescription to shop for FSA eligible medicines and to get reimbursed by your FSA.
Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Spray
Get cold relief and open and flush your nasal passages to relieve congestion.
Dealing with a cold is never pleasant. Luckily, there are some tips and tricks to fighting it off with your FSA that can make all the difference for you.
We all know that feeling all too well - the tickle in your throat, the beginnings of a congested nose. You can feel when you’re about to be hit by a cold and it’s not very pleasant. Luckily, there are some tips and tricks to fighting off that cold as soon as you sense it. And, a Flexible Spending Account can make all the difference, too!
You know this one. Staying hydrated can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of a cold and leave you better equipped to fight off disease.
Clean out your nasal passages
You can try a few things to clear out those nasal passageways.
Sprays containing phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine) or oxymetazoline shrink swollen blood vessels in the lining of your nose, allowing mucus to drain. Sprays work almost instantaneously, but you can't use them long-term.
Neti pots helps to flush out excess mucus and debris from the nose and sinuses. Make sure you boil the water first, then let it cool to kill any bacteria that could be in it.
If you prefer to take pills, decongestant tablets can also clear your stuffiness. They can work fast, inducing a 30 percent drop in congestion after just one 60 milligram dose. The downside is that decongestant pills make some people jittery and they can keep you awake, so you should take them earlier in the day.
Turn on the humidifier
Cold viruses really like dry areas so turning on your humidifier is good way to keep your nasal passage from being dry. The added moisture in the air keep the virus from thriving.
Pause your workout and head to bed
Regular moderate exercise is healthy and boost your immune system, but once you’ve caught a cold, it’s better to take a rest. Since sleep boosts immune function, that “pre-cold” may be a good indicator that you haven’t been getting enough lately. Research shows that people who slept less than 7 hours a night were three times more susceptible to colds than those who slept 8 or more hours per night.
Control your congestion
Consider taking an antihistamine to reduce nasal secretions by about 50 percent. Also try thinning your mucus because nasal secretions grow thicker and thicker as a cold progresses. This is to help carry away viral particles and dead respiratory and immune cells. Keep things moving in your nasal passages with a mucus thinner like Mucinex (FSA eligible with prescription). It’ll also make it easier for you to blow your nose.
Shop for Cold & Allergy products with your FSA
Pain in your muscles and joints can be treated using hot and cold therapies. It’s a popular treatment option because it’s simple. Learn about it in the post
A lot of pain in your muscles and joints can be treated using hot and cold therapies. It's a popular treatment option because it's relatively simple, non-invasive, and non-addictive.
It's important to know the difference between the two so you know which is more appropriate to use for each situation. Luckily many products nowadays have a dual purpose and can be used for both heat and cold therapy.
In general, cold therapy is used first, for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury. Cold therapy is particularly good for treating sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises that may occur in sports or lifting. This is because of its role in slowing blood circulation to an area, reducing both pain, muscle spasm, and inflammation.
Cold is applied by an ice or gel pack to injured areas for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Every 10 minutes, the ice pack should be removed for 10 minutes before reapplying again.
Heat therapy, on the other hand, increases blood flow to the injured area. It should be applied if you have stiff joints or chronic muscle and joint pain. Increased blood flow supplies crucial oxygen and nutrients to reduce pain in joints and relax sore muscles, ligaments and tendons. Warmth also decreases muscle spasms and can increase range of motion.
Heat can be applied through both dry or moist methods, although the latter may penetrate better. Options include heating pad, hot water bottle, gel packs, or hot water baths all at a warm (not hot) and consistent temperature. Don't apply heat for longer than 20 minutes or use it on open wounds and stitches. Think about incorporating warming elements into your daily routine, such as warming your clothes in the dryer before dressing, or using an electric blanket and turning it up for a few minutes before getting out of bed.
FSA Store carries a wide range of hot and cold packs for you to choose from.
How does my Flexible Spending Account treat a cold?
As the fall chill settles in over the course of the next several months, it will become a bit harder to stay healthier during this time of year as cold and flu season sets in. With many of your friends and co workers suffering from sniffles and sneezes, there’s an increased likelihood that you may catch a virus that could put you out of commission for days on end.
Thankfully, if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can plan early in the cold and flu season to pick up everything that you and your loved ones will need to recover quickly from ailments that could have otherwise forced you to miss time from work, school and other obligations.
Here are a few smart purchases to make for your family’s health as fall kicks off!
1. Steam Inhalers
Is there anything worse than not being able to breathe out of your nose thanks to nasal congestion? This can put a serious damper on your sleep schedule and can cause lingering discomfort throughout your day, even when you’re utilizing an anti-histamine medication. A steam inhaler is a great FSA eligible item that can ease sinus pressure, moisturize inflamed respiratory passages and deliver targeted therapy that can help you breathe easier during the worst of your cold and flu symptoms.
Check out: MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler
2. Saline Sprays
Over-the-counter (OTC) saline sprays are extremely effective tools that can provide immediate relief to combat stuffiness and congestion. In particular, these medications are great options for busy individuals on the go who need a quick solution at work, school or commuting.
A sore throat is usually a harbinger of things to come with most cold viruses, but if this symptom continues to hang around, it can be a major nuisance that can last for days. Throat lozenges are a tried-and-true method that can reduce the severity of many cold symptoms like coughing, sore throat, congestion, post nasal drip and hoarseness. Additionally, gargling each morning and evening with salt water is another effective means of clearing up a sore throat over time.
Note: Because lozenges contain medicine, these products require a prescription to be FSA eligible.
Check out: Cold-Eeze Lozenges, All Natural Honey Lemon
This is just scratching the surface of what your FSA can cover during cold and flu season, but now is the best time to spend your tax-free funds on seasonal needs at FSAstore.com! Check out the biggest selection of FSA eligible items on the web and realize the true potential of your employee benefits!
Sniffling, sneezing, fever, body aches - all are tell-tale signs of a cold or flu. When you’re working late with minimal sleep, stressing at work or commuting among thousands of other people, it’s easy to catch something along the way.
How do you know whether you have a cold or the flu? You can tell by the severity of your symptoms, according to a recent USA Today article. Sore throat, running nose and coughing are symptoms that a cold and the flu share in common, but the flu lasts longer than a few days and is far more severe with body aches, exhaustion and a fever.
How can you treat either? Get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and use your FSA toward treatment!
How does a Flexible Spending Account help?
You might be wondering how a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can help with cold and flu symptoms?
- An FSA covers the cost of over-the-counter products and over-the-counter medicines that can alleviate cold and flu symptoms. At FSAstore.com, there is a separate Cold/Allergy category selling FSA eligible products including warm steam vaporizers, saline solution, and nasal sprays. Browse our list of other FSA eligible expenses.
- Cough drops, tablets and items containing active medical ingredients (Vicks NyQuil, Robitussin, Tylenol) are FSA eligible, but will require a prescription for FSA reimbursement. Health Care Reform requires that any products containing medicine will need a prescription to be FSA-approved. Insulin is an exception to this Rx requirement. You can easily shop for both Rx and non-Rx FSA eligible items directly atFSAstore.com. We even have a simple Rx Process to help you submit your prescriptions for FSA reimbursement.
- If you’d like to schedule an appointment with a doctor or other health care specialist, you’ll be able to use your FSA toward deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays.
- If you'd like to monitor a fever, thermometers are FSA eligible as well. You can find these at FSA Store under diagnostic products.
- You can also get a flu shot with your FSA.
Shop for FSA eligible products at FSAstore.com – including for a cold!
Have any questions? Leave a comment and we’ll get you an answer.
We all know the dreadful feeling of waking up, being exhausted with a fever or a runny nose, and experiencing aches all over. When that happens you know cold/flu season has arrived. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published more information about the flu and what you can do to protect or treat yourself if you have the flu.
While rest, sleep, and lots of liquids are generally recommended with cold/flu symptoms, there are other remedies that could speed up recovery. FSAstore.com's FSA Eligible Cold & Allergy products offers warm steam vaporizers, saline solution, nasal sprays, and medicines such as cough drops, tablets and more.
You can also get a flu shot - it's FSA eligible as it's a preventive measure.