Though the coronavirus has received much of our attention, there’s another, more familiar ailment to also be prepared for: the flu. According to the CDC, COVID-19’s overlap with flu season will make it even more critical for Americans to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses this fall and winter. Here are four health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) eligible expenses to keep on hand should you or any of your family members catch the flu this year.
Concerns over a “twindemic” -- widespread flu cases during the COVID-19 pandemic -- are real. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends most Americans over the age of 6 months old get flu shots, and that’s especially true this year so the nation’s healthcare system doesn’t become overly strained. The good news is flu shots are eligible for your HSA and medical FSA funds. Would you like more information on a flu vaccine? Check out the CDC’s website.
Cold and flu medicines
Flu symptoms vary from person to person, but most commonly involve fever and/or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache and fatigue. While over-the-counter flu and cold medicines don’t cure the flu, they’re formulated to soothe many of its symptoms.
If you have children, you’ll also want to stock up on medicines specifically for pediatric use, as these meds have been studied for effectiveness, safety and dosing in children. There are a variety of children’s medications to also help with seasonal allergies.
Though thermometers have been selling out around the world this year, they’re now making their way back onto pharmacy shelves and into online marketplaces — just in time for flu season. Your temperature is a strong determinant of whether or not you should seek professional medical help with COVID-19 or the flu. You can also purchase touch-free forehead scanners, which have become increasingly popular during the pandemic.
Physicians often suggest that patients infected with the flu install a humidifier in their bedroom. These devices moisten airways, potentially helping you breathe easier and feel better faster. There’s even some research that suggests a humidifier might help prevent the flu, as the virus is thought to spread more easily in dry air. Alternatively, a handheld steam inhaler can also bring relief.
The best healer? Staying hydrated and doing everything possible to ensure you get adequate sleep. A warm compress may soothe a bad headache so that you’re able to drift off, whereas a cold compress may help bring your fever down.