To learn more about Costco Pharmacy, click on the “Pharmacy”
link at Costco.com or call toll-free 1-800-607-6861.
INFLUENZA, OR THE flu, is a contagious
respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.
The flu is different from a cold and comes on
quickly. People with the flu may have fever, a
cough, a sore throat, muscle and body aches,
tiredness and a runny or stuffy nose. Although
most people with the flu recover within two
weeks, others have more severe illness that
results in complications such as pneumonia (see
related article), hospitalization or even death.
According to the CDC Foundation (cdc
foundation.org), close to 17 million workdays
are lost each year due to the flu. The flu is
spread by coughing, sneezing or talking, or by
touching surfaces that are contaminated with
flu virus. It can spread quickly through the
workplace, because those infected with the flu
can infect others before symptoms develop.
You can help prevent the spread of the flu
in the workplace by staying home when you
are sick, washing your hands frequently and
keeping your workspaces clean.
The best protection against the flu is getting a seasonal flu shot. This shot is formulated
every year to include the strains of influenza
virus that are most likely to spread and cause
illness. Flu shots contain inactivated pieces of
the influenza virus, which helps your body recognize and kill the influenza virus if you are
Creating a healthy
exposed to it. Several types of influenza vaccines are available this season, which protect
against three or four types of influenza virus.
As we age, our bodies have a harder time
developing an immune response. Because of
that, patients who are over 65 may benefit
from a high-dose or adjuvant vaccine. These
vaccines either contain higher amounts of
virus pieces or include a substance (the adjuvant) to boost the body’s immune response.
In previous flu seasons, the nasal spray flu
vaccine was preferred for most children.
Recent data from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that
the nasal vaccine may not be as effective as
previously thought, and the CDC now recommends vaccination with the flu shot.
It takes about two weeks for your body to
mount an immune response against the flu, so
it is important to get your flu shot before influenza is spreading in the community. Although
you can still get the flu if you’ve had a shot, you
may have a milder illness if you do get sick.
Check with your Costco pharmacist to
find out more about the flu shot. Flu shots are
covered by most insurance plans at no cost to
you. Vaccine and age restrictions vary by
state. Costco provides immunizations to
adults and children 9 years and older.
PNEUMONIA IS AN infection of the lungs
that affects millions of people each year.
Coughing, fever and difficulty breathing
are common signs of pneumonia.
According to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention ( cdc.gov), each
year about 1 million people in the United
States are hospitalized due to pneumonia,
and 50,000 people die from it.
Pneumonia is caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi. People who are older than
65 or younger than 5 years old are at a
higher risk for getting ill with pneumonia.
Having a chronic illness, such as diabetes
or heart or lung disease, and smoking can
also increase your risk for pneumonia.
You can reduce the chances of getting
pneumonia by washing your hands often,
regularly cleaning surfaces that are
touched a lot, avoiding people who are sick
and treating any chronic conditions you
may have. Several vaccines are available to
reduce the risk of getting pneumonia
caused by certain viruses and bacteria.
• A seasonal flu shot is recommended
for everyone 6 months and older. Pregnant
women, the very young and very old, and
those who have weak immune systems are
more likely to develop complications such
as pneumonia from an influenza infection.
• Prevnar13® and Pneumovax23® prevent pneumonia and other illnesses caused
by many types of pneumococcal bacteria.
Children under 2, people with certain
medical conditions or weakened immune
systems, adults over 65 and smokers are at
the highest risk for pneumococcal infections and should be vaccinated.
• Whooping cough (pertussis) can
cause serious illness, especially in babies.
Whooping cough vaccine is recommended
for all ages, and women should receive a
pertussis vaccine with every pregnancy.
Check with your Costco pharmacist to
find out which vaccine and dosing schedule is right for you. The vaccine for pneumonia as well as for whooping cough and
flu is covered by most insurance plans.
Vaccine and age restrictions vary by state.
Costco provides immunizations to adults
and children 9 years and older.