LUMBERTON — When you sign up for an airline credit card, you may get bonus miles. But did you know that when you sign on to Medicare, you get some important preventive health measures as a perk?
For instance, Medicare covers the cost of three important vaccinations to help you avoid disease: an annual flu shot; Hepatitis B shots (a series of three) for those at medium or high risk of Hepatitis B; a pneumococcal shot to protect against infections, such as certain types of pneumonia.
How does taking advantage of this bonus help you to stay healthy? Vaccination is the best way to help prevent the flu, Hepatitis B and pneumonia. Plus, you’ll be avoiding the potentially dangerous complications that can result from a bout with one of these illnesses.
For example, Hepatitis B — a serious liver infection — can lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. Pneumococcal disease may cause pneumonia, blood infection or meningitis. The flu can trigger bronchitis or ear and sinus infections. In addition, thousands of people in the U.S. are hospitalized every year from flu-related complications, and some even die. Those at highest risk are people 65 and older and those with a chronic illness, such as heart disease or asthma.
You need a new flu shot every year, but vaccinations for Hepatitis B and pneumococcal disease are usually only given once. You might be able to get your flu and pneumococcal vaccinations at the same time.