As temperatures continue to drop this winter season, the number of runny noses and sneezes keeps on climbing. Flu season is still going strong, persevering through the flurry of snow storms and keeping people in bed for up to two weeks at a time. If you have a child, you may hear about their classmates being out of school or you may notice that the cubicle next to yours has been empty for a few days – and the culprit is most likely this highly contagious infection.

Influenza, or more colloquially, the flu, is running rampant through most regions right now, and affects the nose, the throat, and the bronchi of its host. In severe cases, the flu will attack the lungs, and lead to dangerous complications. The flu can hit without warning, plaguing you with muscle aches, fever, severe rhinitis, and extreme discomfort. It is spread through the exchange of particles in the air via coughing or sneezing.

The infection can last up to two weeks without medical intervention, though certain vulnerable subsets of the population may be subjected to serious complications. The young and elderly are particularly susceptible to consequential pneumonia and other severe respiratory infections that may result in hospitalization, or even death.

The number one way to avoid catching the flu this season is to go to the nearest doctor’s office or clinic and get your flu shot! While the flu shot will not protect you from every strain of the virus, the vaccinations are specially formulated to protect patients from the most abundant strains.

For the 2015-2016 flu season, patients can choose between a trivalent vaccine, which protects against two common flu strains and the H1N1 virus, or a quadrivalent vaccine, which targets 3 viruses and H1N1.

For all the coders and billers out there, don’t forget the differentiation’s between vaccination CPT codes!

Trivalent Vaccination Common Codes:

  • 90655-90658
  • 90661 (for preservative free)
  • 90673 (intramuscular, ages 18 & up)

Quadrivalent Vaccination Common Codes:

  • 90672 (intranasal, ages 2-42)
  • 90685 & 90687 (intramuscular, 6-35 months)
  • 90686 (intramuscular, ages 3 & up)

As of 2015, only 31% of adults, ages 18-49 have received the flu shot in the past twelve months.   Know your influenza vaccine options, and get vaccinated. It’s not too late!