Have you noticed flu shot signs at your favorite grocery, drug and discount stores? Although the flu season doesn’t officially begin until October, retailers are offering shots early this year. And for good reason. It’s because manufacturers are releasing their vaccines earlier to head off the possibility of another epidemic like the H1N1 flu outbreak that occurred in 2009.
Everyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seniors over 65 years of age and young children are the most vulnerable.
And, the CDC says the earlier you can get the flu shot, the better.
If you plan to get your flu shot at a pharmacy or another retailer this fall, be sure to safeguard your medical identity, too. Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to fraudulently obtain medical services such as treatment, healthcare products or pharmaceuticals.
Medical identity theft reached an all-time high last year with nearly 2 million people becoming victims in the United States, according to the latest Ponemon Institute Medical Identity Theft survey. If you want to try to avoid becoming a victim, be vigilance with these tips.
- Keep your medical information private (including your health insurance identification card. Don’t leave it on a counter or let others peek at your identification number)
- Check your medical records for accuracy on a regular basis
- Carefully monitor all of your financial statements
- Review your credit reports at least once per year