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Living Well

Got the flu? How your FSA can help

It's been a beautiful fall season in many parts of the U.S., but the lack of cold weather doesn't mean you shouldn't already have flu shots on your mind!

It's been a beautiful fall season in many parts of the U.S., so you can certainly forgive most people for putting off their concern for cold and flu season! But according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lack of cold weather doesn't mean you shouldn't already have flu shots on your mind!

The CDC warns that individuals and families should be vaccinated by the end of October before the flu starts to spread, as it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against illness. Luckily, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), you can get a head start on your cold & flu season preparations without doing damage to your wallet. Here are a few ways to get started this autumn.

  1. Flu Shot

According to the CDC, this season only injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) are recommended. The cost associated with flu shots is an FSA-eligible expense, so don't delay making an appointment with your doctor or pharmacist! These shots are designed to protect against multiple strains of the flu, and typically protect against 3-4 versions of the virus that are expected to be most common this season.

  1. Prevent the spread of germs

Everyday actions to stop the spread of germs will make a huge difference for you and your family to avoid contracting the flu this season. The CDC suggests always washing your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer when coming in contact with public surfaces, and limit your contact with sick people. Using tissues or saline wipes can help prevent the spread of germs, and avoid touching your mouth or eyes after doing so.

  1. Maintain your healthy habits

The strength of your immune system plays a major role in whether you come down with a cold or flu virus, so make sure your keep up healthy habits as fall gets underway. WebMD suggests eating a balanced diet, exercising at least 4 days a week and sleeping 7-9 hours each night to ensure that your immune system is in good shape.

  1. FSA-Eligible Flu Care

If you do happen to contract the flu despite your best efforts, your FSA can cover a huge range of treatments to help you get back on your feet. Prescription antivirals can be covered with FSA funds, as well as cold & flu products like Neti pots, antihistamines/decongestants, steam inhalers, cold compresses and more! Before the cold weather hits, make sure you pick up cold & allergy products with your FSA funds!

For everything you need to stay healthy year-round, rely on FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible items to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!

Saline Wipes

Keep germs away and stuffy noses at bay with saline wipes.

Cold-Eeze Lozenges

Soothe your throat while shortening your cold with Cold-Eeze throat lozenges.


Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-guide/cold_flu_stopping_germs_work#1

Eligibility

5 FSA eligible products to cope with the common cold

While the holiday season may be over, winter will be here for a few more months and there's a good chance that you or a loved one will fall victim to the common cold this season. The common cold is a virus, and while there are a variety of cold & flu remedies that could make a tangible impact on your symptoms, in most cases, getting over a cold is a matter of riding it out!

Now that 2017 is here, it's time to update your common cold care regimen! Before you or a loved one becomes sick this winter, use your FSA card on these great products to help you weather the worst of your cold symptoms.

  1. Therapeutic Facemasks

Common colds often lead to sinus infections, which occurs when the nasal cavities become swollen and inflamed, and can persist long after other cold symptoms have come and gone. In addition to nasal congestion, sinus pain and inflammation is common, and it can make a big issue even worse. Therapeutic pain relief masks are great options to have on hand that can be heated to open up nasal passages, or cooled to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Check Out: TheraPearl Cooling Facemask

  1. Vaporizer

Looking for a quick, medicine-free means of clearing out your nasal congestion without leaving yourself feeling groggy and sleepy from over-the-counter remedies, try a steam inhaler! These devices, also known as vaporizers, deliver target steam therapy deep into the sinuses, nose and throat that is extremely helpful in the event of a cold. Additionally, vaporizers are helpful to treat allergies, coughs, parched throats or sore throat discomfort.

Check Out: MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler

  1. Neti Pot

Nasal irrigation is one of the easiest ways to clear out congested nasal passages with a saline solution that is filtered through the nose. A Neti pot is the easiest means of delivering this solution, as it is shaped like a teapot and can deliver a warm water and saline solution that is poured into the nose and expelled through the mouth. This practice can remove excess mucous, allergens and environmental particles that could trigger respiratory discomfort.

Check Out: NeilMed NasaFlo Neti Pot, 8 oz

  1. Saline Spray

Contending with a cold isn't just reserved to staying at home, which is why saline spray is so useful during cold & flu season. This is an easy way to flush out nasal congestion from breathing passages on the go, as well as lubricating these areas in the event of extremely cold and dry winter weather conditions.

Check Out: Leader Saline Nasal Spray, 1.5 oz

  1. Throat Lozenges

Keeping your throat lubricated is a major consideration when contending with the common cold, and throat lozenges can serve two important purposes. First, they can treat sore throats by preventing the throat from drying up and thereby reducing pain, and those that are formulated with menthol can aid in thinning nasal congestion as well.

Check Out: Cold-Eeze Lozenges, All Natural Honey Lemon, 18 ea

TheraPearl Cooling Facemask

Provides you with instant pain relief from forehead to chin.


Eligibility

How to treat a sore throat with an FSA

When a sore throat rears its ugly head, it can mean a variety of things. It can be the primary symptom in a bacterial illness like strep throat, or an oncoming cold or flu.

No matter the cause, a sore throat is a nuisance that may be around the corner now with the arrival of cold & flu season. Luckily, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), you can stay a step ahead of the game!

Treat a sore throat with these FSA eligible products:

Steam Inhaler

These helpful devices create a fine mist that is used to penetrate the sinuses, nose and throat to provide relief for the worst cold and flu symptoms. In the case of sore throats, you guessed it, steam inhalers provide heat and moisture to alleviate pain in the throat. This is a type of natural expectorant that can make it easier to expel mucous buildup from your breathing passages to ease your discomfort and put you on the road to recovery. Best of all, a steam inhaler or vaporizer is FSA/HSA eligible!

Shop for MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler

Saltwater Rinse

A quick at-home remedy for sore throats is the saltwater gargle, which can reduce swelling in the throat, loosen up mucous and flush any irritants present from the throat. A half of teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water should do the trick - just be sure not to swallow it!

Shop for Boogie Wipes, Saline Nose Wipes

Hot or Cold Therapy

Keep a sore throat and its related pain under control with soothing hot or cold therapy. Hot or cold therapy can provide all types of pain relief, whether it's for sinuses, tense shoulders, headaches and more.

Shop for Adult Hot and Cold Packs

Shop for Thermal-Aid Hot or Cold Therapy Animals for kids

Warm Liquids

Hot liquids like soup or tea can positively affect the treatment of sore throats by alleviating that dry, scratchy feeling. Not only do hot liquids soothe the throat, but they can help to loosen mucus from post-nasal drip and congestion.

Anti-inflammatory Meds:

Most often, sore throats are caused by viral infections that cannot be treated by antibiotics. Healthy foods and rest are top priorities and pain management is also important. The primary source of pain is inflamed skin in the throat, so an anti-inflammatory medication can help with that. An over-the-counter, non-steroid anti-inflammatory (NSAID), such as Advil or Aleve, can reduce this swelling and alleviate pain.

Throat Lozenges

The primary purpose of these lozenges is to spark saliva production, which can moisten the throat. Lozenges that contain menthol or eucalyptus can help as they have a cooling or numbing effect.

For the products you need to keep your family healthy year-round, be sure to visit FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products.

MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler

Get an instant, fine mist that penetrates deep into your sinuses, nose, and throat for superb relief.

Eligibility

Prepare for flu season

It’s official. Cooler temperatures, pumpkin-flavored everything, colored leaves…fall is in the air.

September 22 marked the beginning of fall. Now is an important time to think about your fall health.

Each year, thousands of Americans suffer from flu symptoms.

Can I use my Flexible Spending Account toward flu & cold treatment?

Yes!

  1. You can use your FSA to pay for a flu shot.
  2. Soothe cold and sinus pain with FSA eligible products - some items are FSA eligible without a prescription as well.
  3. Medicines such as Tylenol Cold, Mucinex, and Advil will require a doctor's prescription for FSA reimbursement.

Contact your FSA administrator with any FSA reimbursement questions, or check out our FSAstore.com blog post on FSA reimbursement.