Don’t take a chance, get a flu shot

  • Published
  • By Shari Lopatin
  • TriWest Healthcare Alliance
If nine out of 10 people who played the lottery actually won, who wouldn't want to try their chances?

When it comes to flu shots, it's the same odds. Nine out of 10 healthy people who get a seasonal flu shot, don't get the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With flu season right around the corner, trying that "lottery" could keep you from getting sick. Seasonal flu vaccinations are available as a shot or nasal spray and are a TRICARE-covered benefit.

The flu shot this year, according to the CDC, will protect against the three most common forms of flu, including the headline-hogging H1N1 virus from last year.

Where to get a flu shot
Active duty service members will need to visit their assigned military clinic to receive a flu shot. The shot will be at no cost to them. Additionally, a TRICARE beneficiary may visit his or her military clinic for a flu shot at no cost; however, they should call the facility first to find out when the shots are available.

All individuals with TRICARE Prime who choose not to receive a shot from their military clinic will need to visit a TRICARE network provider--such as their primary care manager or a pharmacy--to have the shot at no cost. Some network doctors' offices may still charge a small co-pay for the visit, though. The same rules apply for those using TRICARE Standard and Extra, or enrolled in TRICARE Prime Remote, as long as the vaccine is administered by a TRICARE-authorized provider.

CDC recommendations for flu shots
Everyone, 6 months or older, should receive a flu shot the moment it's available, as recommended by the CDC. Additionally, receiving a flu shot is especially important for certain high-risk groups to decrease their risk for severe flu illness. These groups are:
· Young children
· Pregnant women
· People with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease
· People 65 years and older
· Health care workers
· Caretakers who live with people at high risk (such as those listed above)

Prevention methods to stifle the flow of flu
One of the best methods to prevent the spread of flu is adequate hand-washing. Individuals should wash their hands often with soap and water, properly scrubbing their hands together. A quick, fast rinse will not do the trick. Additionally, covering one's nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, then throwing the tissue away will help keep others from getting sick.

A few other tips from the CDC are:

· Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
· Avoid close contact with sick people
· If sick, remain home for at least 24 hours after the fever has stopped, except to receive medical care
· If sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.

For more information on the flu and TRICARE-covered flu shots, visit You can also follow TriWest on Facebook and Twitter for updates on flu shots at or