Shots for Everyone!
Gottcha! Not THAT kind of shot…….It’s Friday and I am already into weekend mode. So, I thought I’d slide into this topic with a little humor. Until a couple of years ago, I was shot-resistant. I felt that they were for people with chronic illness or small children with less developed immune systems….
Flu season is coming and if it is anything like last year it will not be pleasant. There are a few things you need to know that will make your journey through the season a bit more comfortable. While the flu can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, there some steps that you can take to help mitigate your exposure and the sickness itself. I am not a physician (although I did play one in a commercial…..another story) so please use these as guidelines (kind of like golf rules if you’ve ever played with me). Please reach out to your physician with questions you have about your immunization.
By mid-September, my honey, the good doctor is on my case about getting a flu shot. The medical profession is pretty insistent that a flu shot is a requisite. I am forever avoiding things but I do get a flu shot every year. Please understand that the flu shot is not 100% effective – last year is a good example of this. Flu vaccines in the US are created in the spring and early summer and are based on what has happened in the Southern Hemisphere. Also, the virus can mutate – this is what happened last year. Even last year, however, the flu shot did help the majority of the people who got it by either minimizing the flu symptoms or preventing it. While the flu shot may be available as early as late August, it is probably better to wait until the end of September as its efficacy is only about 6-7 months.
The best thing that you can do is to take a few precautions that will go a long way in protecting you and your family. Wash your hands a lot, particularly if you are around people with coughs, colds, etc. This is also important if you have young children – everything nasty seems to come home them! Use disinfectant wipes (this brings to mind the ugly Clorox episode on a flight to Hawaii) whenever you can. I am a fanatic about this – particularly when I am at the gym (I just read an article stating that this is THE most germ-intensive spot) and traveling. I am pretty vocal at the gym when someone doesn’t wipe down machines and weights when they are finished (I wipe mine down before use and after). Avoid standing close to people who are coughing or sneezing. Do not rub your eyes – this will only spread the virus that may be on your hands.
Recognize the signs of the flu and, if you are getting achy, chilled with sweats, go to bed and drink a lot of liquids (is wine included in this???). Acetaminophen and ibuprofen will help with the achy feeling and help to reduce any fever. Realize that the flu is a viral infection and antibiotics will not kill the virus. Your doctor can prescribe an antiviral medicine such as Tamiflu but these should be taken in the first few days – they will not get rid of the flu but will lessen the severity. Do not expose others, be a good neighbor, friend, co-worker and stay home! It can take almost a full week before you start to feel better.
Do you get a flu shot every year? Do you feel it works for you in staying healthy?