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What We're Reading: Flu Season; Offsetting Sedentary Lifestyle; Short-Term Health Plans


Flu season in North America is off to an early start; exercising regularly might not offset a generally sedentary lifestyle; short-term health plans are being packaged to circumvent Obamacare restrictions.

Flu Season Has an Early Start

Influenza experts are recommending that people planning to get the flu shot get it now since North America’s flu season is off to an early start. According to STAT, the flu season is on track to peak around the holiday season; usually activity peaks in January or February. Surveillance data also shows that North America’s flu season might mirror Australia’s flu season from a few months ago: a lot of H3N2 virus and some influenza B. CDC experts are worried that the type of influenza B virus circulating is particularly hard on older adults.

Exercising to Offset a Sedentary Lifestyle

People looking to offset their generally sedentary lifestyle with regular exercise might not be as successful as they hope to be. People with a sedentary lifestyle who meet exercise guidelines still have a higher risk of developing blood clots in their legs, which can lead to venous thromboembolism (VTE), reported Reader’s Digest. Scientists had looked at the relationship between incidence of and TV-watching behaviors and found people who exercised regularly and watch TV “very often” had a higher risk of a life-threatening blood clot than those who exercised regularly and rarely watched TV.

Short-Term Plans as an Alternative to ACA Coverage

Some health insurers are getting around an Obama administration rule that limited short-term health plan coverage by packaging multiple short-term plans to cover nearly the full year. Kaiser Health News reported that as interest grows in these plans and the Trump administration considers loosening restrictions, consumers need to understand what these plans do and don’t cover. Many plans set annual and lifetime caps on benefits, don’t cover prescription drugs, and exclude some benefits, such as maternity care, preventive care, and mental health services.

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