Vaccine Recommendations from Employee Health Services (EHS)

In the fall, we all hear about getting the annual flu shot. Questions about that and other vaccines arise yearly, especially since COVID-19 in 2020. Who should get a flu shot, and when should I get one? What other vaccines should I be considering? 

Where can I get these vaccines? Can I get more than one at a time? And the list can go on. We hope to answer a few of those questions this month.

Who and When

Most people six months and older should receive an annual flu shot. The vaccines are based on the virus that was present at the end of the last season. While it may not be 100% effective against keeping you from getting sick, it lowers the severity and the number of influenza-related hospitalizations. The elderly and young are most affected, as well as those with other health issues, including breathing problems, heart issues, and diabetes. Please stay healthy for those around you, too!

CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends the flu vaccine be administered in September or October to last into the influenza season. 

It takes two weeks to take effect in your body. The newest recommendations also state that EGG ALLERGY is no longer a contraindication to vaccines. 

Other vaccines to consider:

COVID: a new vaccine is being made for the fall of 2023, and recommendations will be made when available.

Pneumonia: adult vaccines include PCV 15 or 20 and PPSV23. Please speak with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) or pharmacist about your requirements.

Tetanus (Td/Tdap): should be given every ten years or sooner with certain injuries; at least one Tdap as an adult to prevent pertussis (whooping cough)

Shingles: for those with lowered immune systems and 60+ years of age

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)- common cold-like symptoms but can be severe in infants and older adults; will soon be offered to those 60+ years of age.

Where to get vaccines

Your PCP or local pharmacy can provide you with these vaccines.

Can I get more than one vaccine at a time?

If you can only get one vaccine appointment, it is typically safe to receive more than one vaccine at a given time. 

Try to get them in separate arms, and beware that the side effects like fatigue and arm soreness may be more significant with more vaccines at once.

Let’s all do our part to stay healthy this fall and winter with up-to-date vaccinations.

Many questions can be answered on the Anthem website, the CDC website, or with your PCP.

Check Your Symptoms or Call EHS

If you are feeling under the weather, check out this symptom chart and get an idea of the cause. While Employee Health Services (EHS) does not replace your primary care provider, they can treat employees’ minor illnesses and injuries, including prescription medication if needed. Examples of these types of minor illnesses include: 

  • Sore /strep throat
  • Cold/Flu
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Eye Problems (scratch, pink eye)
  • Ear Problems (infection, wax build-up)
  • Cough
  • Urinary Tract/Bladder Infection
  • Skin Rashes /Insect Bite
  • Minor cuts/Abrasions
  • Strains/Sprains

Call 804-501-1600 to schedule an appointment. The clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please visit the Employee Health Service webpage for more information on their services.

Also, every U.S. household can again place an order to receive four more free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to their home. Visit https://www.covid.gov/tests for more information.

 

 

Cold, flu, COVID or allergies: what are my symptoms?

Common Symptom

COLD

FLU

COVID

ALLERGIES

Onset

gradual

fast

within 14 days

gradual

Lasts

4-10 days

5-7 days

varies

seasonal

Body aches

slight

yes

sometimes

no

Cough

yes

yes

yes

yes

Fatigue/weak

mild

yes

sometimes

slight

Fever/chills

rare

yes

sometimes

no

Headache

sometimes

yes

sometimes

sinus

Itchy eyes

no

no

no

yes

Nasal congestion

yes

yes

sometimes

yes

Nausea/vomiting

sometimes

sometimes

sometimes

no

New loss taste/smell

sometimes

sometimes

sometimes

sometimes

Runny nose

yes

sometimes

sometimes

yes

Short of breath

rare

rare

serious infection

sometimes

Sneezing

yes

yes

sometimes

yes

Sore throat

yes

yes

sometimes

sometimes

 

*Symptoms may vary depending on vaccine status and underlying health problems

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/

https://www.anthem.com/preventive-care/

https://www.verywellhealth.com/fall-2023-vaccination-guide-7642488

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/infographics/it-cold-flu-or-covid-19

gundersonhealth.org/health-wellness/be-well/how-to-tell-if-you-have-a-cold-the-flu-or-covid-19

https://www.nationaljewish.org/conditions/health-information/health-infographics/allergies-cold-flu-or-covid-19-virus

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Open Enrollment for 2024 Benefits Need to Knows

Open Enrollment is your annual opportunity to enroll or change your coverage and add or drop dependents for your health, dental, short-term income protection, and flexible spending accounts (FSA). Open Enrollment will be Sunday, October 1 through Friday, October 27, 2023. All changes must be submitted through Employee Direct Access by 4:30 p.m. on October 27, 2023.

We will be re-introducing Open Enrollment Information Sessions this year! Consider attending a session to learn more about our plans and speak with benefits staff and our various vendors. No sign-up is required, and the sessions will be “open house” style.

 

 Tuesday, October 3, 2023

12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.                                    Henrico Training Center

                                                                          7701 E. Parham Road

                                                                          Rooms 2029/2030

 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.                                   Eastern Government Center

                                                                         Community Room

                                                                         3820 Nine Mile Road

What do you need to know?

  • Healthcare rates will not increase for full-time employees! Anthem will continue to administer our health care and prescription drug benefits. There will be new group numbers in 2024, so plan participants will receive new insurance cards for 2024. Please make sure you use the new card for services starting January 1, 2024.
    1. Due to IRS inflation guidelines, there will be an increase to the high-deductible health plan (HDHP)’s deductible. For employee-only coverage, the deductible will increase by $200, totaling $3,200. The deductible for any dependent-level coverage will increase by $400, totaling $6,400.
  • Delta Dental will continue offering the same plan options for 2024 with a minimal rate increase.
  • TASC will continue to provide our Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) benefit. This year, the minimum annual election for both healthcare and dependent (day) care FSAs will be $100. The new maximum to the healthcare FSA will be $3,050. The dependent (day) care FSA limit will remain at $5,000.

 

 What do you have to do as an employee?

  • Re-enroll in Flexible Spending Accounts if you wish to participate in 2024.
    1. Up to $570 will roll over into your 2024 healthcare flexible spending account.
  • Review your current plan and dependents to see if changes need to be made.

Note: Healthcare, dental, and short-term income protection enrollments will roll over for 2024 unless you change them during Open Enrollment.

We encourage you to take advantage of Open Enrollment to choose the benefits that are right for you and your family. Visit our dedicated Open Enrollment webpage at https://employees.henrico.gov/info/oe for more information!

As a reminder, Open Enrollment for Voluntary Benefits will also be from October 1, 2023 – October 27, 2023. Enrollments and changes to your voluntary benefits are handled through Pierce Insurance Agency, Inc. on the web at pierceins.com/henrico or call 800-421-3142 ext. 170.

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Save Energy This Month and Every Month

October is National Energy Awareness Month, and with energy prices at all-time highs, there has never been a better time to think about saving energy. Remember, the easiest way to save energy is through conservation – turning off, unplugging, or setting back energy-using systems when they’re not needed. It’s estimated that energy bills can be reduced by up to 20% with simple behavior changes. 

Here are a few everyday conservation tips to practice at home and work:

  • Program your computer to go into standby mode when idle;
  • Unplug chargers and small appliances when not in use;
  • Turn off lights that aren’t needed.

The Henrico Environmental Action Resource Team has a subcommittee focused on energy and resource conservation. On the H.E.A.R.T. website, you can find a dashboard displaying the actual energy use of County facilities and schools, information on County efficiency and renewable energy efforts, and resources for home and business owners in Henrico. Check it out at https://henrico.gov/heart/energy-and-resource-conservation/

We’ll be celebrating Energy Month at the Fall Energy Fair on Friday, October 13th, from 11:30-1:00 in the courtyard of the Administration BuildingLearn about current Henrico energy and solar projects, home energy and solar resources, recycling, and more. L.E.D. light bulbs (for the first 150 visitors) and other fun giveaways will be available. Food trucks will also be set up nearby between the Administration Building and the parking deck. The fair is rain or shine, barring inclement weather.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Henrico’s Energy Manager, Carrie Webster at 804-501-5763 or [email protected].

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