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!
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!
People often wonder whether to get a flu shot. Did you know you can get a flu shot with an FSA? Get more details in the post!
Should I geta flu shot, and is aflu shot covered byan FSA? People often wonder about that. And, even thoughNational Influenza Vaccination Weekwas last week, there's still time to get a flu shot. Each year,National Influenza Vaccination Weekhighlights how important it is to continue gettingfluvaccinations for every member of your family.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone over the age of 6 months old receive a flu vaccination each year. This is really to build up an immunity to the virus before the onset of flu season. Because influenza strains evolve so quickly, last year's flu shots will not necessarily protect against this year's viruses, so it's vital to geta shot each year to avoid contracting the virus.
But, this brings us back to the original questions: how do flu shots really work, and can you get a flu shot with an FSA? Let's find out more details.
How do flu shots prevent influenza?
Flu shots are seasonal immunizations designed to prevent the contraction of the influenza virus, which hits its peak in the early winter and can linger as late as May. Influenza is classified as a respiratory illness, and unlike a cold, flu symptoms typically come on suddenly and linger for far longer. Some of the most common flu symptoms include severe muscle/joint aches, sore throat/runny nose, headaches, fever, extreme fatigue and weakness. Each year, about 36,000 Americans die from serious complications that arise from influenza contraction, including pneumonia, dehydration and infections. The flu can also act as a catalyst to exacerbate long-term medical conditions like asthma, congestive heart failure and diabetes.
Each year, flu vaccine manufacturers determine which strains of the influenza virus will be most common during the upcoming season and the seasonal flu shot will protect against these variants. Traditionally, these take the form of "trivalent" vaccines that safeguard the recipient against the most common two influenza A strains and one influenza B virus. Additionally, quadrivalent flu shots are also available that protect against two influenza A and two influenza B strains, and are available in standard injections, intradermal shots into the skin and nasal spray vaccines. About two weeks after receiving the vaccination, patients will have developed the antibodies necessary to repel the viruses.
So, what are you waiting for in terms of the flu shot?
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), your healthcare benefits will cover flu shot expenses for you and your dependents. It's the easiest step you can take to safeguard your family's health this winter - and you can do even more for their well-being year-round by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA/HSA/HRA eligible products to support your loved ones' continued good health and wellness.
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.
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.