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Surviving this flu season (it’s no easy feat)

This flu season has been pretty ridiculous.

Multiple states have declared public health emergency, and scores of people — young and old — are dying every day. Just yesterday, I read of 4 teenagers  who died in NJ of the flu this month. And in Connecticut  17 people have died this week — with over 1500 currently so ill they are hospitalized.

This has hit very close to home for me – my own grandmother died earlier this week — otherwise healthy beforehand — and that’s why, though this isn’t normally the type of content I put in my blog, I’m embracing the TUDE side of Aly-tude and imploring you all to take care of yourselves. Do so to keep yourselves healthy and strong, but also to not spread this flu any further than it already is. Many of us have no choice but to work even when unwell, and this means that coworkers, fellow commuters, and friends are all at risk if you have to go out and about sick — and, even if you don’t, your family and neighbors is.

It may not be the Black Plague, but it still really sucks.

Many of my friends are writers and artists and musicians – I am drawn to them for their creativity, their intelligence, their passion – unfortunately, many freelancers don’t have health insurance, and for them, this season is especially problematic — they are hesitant to go to the doctor, and that limits their options.

For them, and for you, if this sounds like your own situation, the emergency room can seem like the only option — but try to avoid that. It’s actually ultimately the most EXPENSIVE place for you to go, (you are way better with a retail drop-in clinic), and will take attention away from people who may be in severe life-or-death situations, and waiting along with you.

For example, I recently saw a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that went on to compare health care costs at clinics verses other popular options. The study found that the average cost of treatment for conditions like a ear infection and sore throat was the most affordable at a clinic, costing $110, while a doctor’s office averaged $166, an urgent care facility $156 and the emergency room $570.

But what you may not know – and I’m hoping all of you reading this will now pay attention to and tell your own friends is that you do have other options. For instance, At CVS Pharmacy’s MinuteClinic, you can get all sorts of free health screenings. FREE. AS in WON’T COST YOU A CENT. Right now you can even get a free diabetes screening which includes a risk assessment, blood glucose test and lifestyle recommendations.

As for insurance — I know this is a tough topic because it’s just completely out of budget for many of us. I can tell you that it’s not in my budget, I can’t afford it, and yet, I have it anyway, and I’m so grateful to have it. My health problems over the past year – including 2 major surgeries – would have cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars without it. Even WITH it, I’m in debt due to deductibles – but the alternative is unfathomable.  A 2012 poll conducted by NPR found that nearly two-thirds of clinic customers used insurance to pay for the visit. The majority paid $25 or less for the medical care. It’s likely that your insurance will still cover the costs of your drop-in visit. Ultimately, having insurance will save you a ton of money if you ever need to use it. And the longer you go not going to the doctor when symptoms persist, the more expensive the situation will be when you finally do. That’s another reason clinics win — there is a certainty of cost. Each service has a set fee so there are no surprises.

Preach over. Just take care of yourself, you guys. I sort of have a plan for 2013 for no one else to die. Can you help me out with that?

Also, while YOU are at it, if you are lucky enough to not have been hit yet, up your odds of staying that way: Wash Your Hands – it’s obvious, but the best way to not carry around germs is to wash them off as soon as they get to you!  (Personally, I love Avon’s NATURALS Vanilla Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap – it smells DELICIOUS and eliminates 99% of germs as it cleanses!) — it also comes in a mini-purse friendly 1 oz. mini hand gel — which is great for not leaving things to chance when you are at work/school/an airplane and touching stuff god knows who else touched. Basically, trust no one. It works in post-apocalyptic movies, flash sales, fighting for the last seat on the subway (where, um, also don’t touch anything), and here – assume everyone has germs, and may be giving them to you if you shake their hand/taste their smoothie/hug them hello.

Also, get your flu shot. Especially if you are older or high-risk or have any underlying conditions.

Yes, I’m a germo-phobe. I’m working on it.

I’m an Avon brand blogger ambassador – however all opinions expressed are always my own. Especially about this – germs are gross, you guys. Don’t let them near you! 



1 Comment

  1. Ravzie
    01.27.2013

    Thank you for posting this, Aly. You are absolutely correct and I hope people read this!!!

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