I don’t know many people who actually enjoy getting shots. My parents had this terrible habit of telling me and my siblings that we were going someplace really exciting! Then they would attempt to bribe us with promises of ice cream afterward when we realized the “really exciting place” was code for “doctor’s office for the flu shot.”
Now that I’m a responsible adult, attempting to bribe myself with Culver’s Concrete Mixers® only goes so far when I have to go in for my annual flu shot. Of course it’s not that the shot is painful (it isn’t) or even all that time-consuming (it isn’t). It’s just easier to keep pushing it off until I wind up in bed, convinced I’m dying, using up my vacation days, constantly blowing my nose and berating myself for not actually getting my flu shot.
What I’m trying to say here is: get the flu shot.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. There are two major reasons for getting a yearly vaccine:
- Flu viruses are constantly changing. Flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and most commonly circulating viruses.
- A person’s immune protection from vaccination declines over time and annual vaccinations are needed for optimal protection.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold and the flu. Typically, the flu is worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, fatigue, cough, chills, and nausea are more common and intense with the flu.
Cases of the flu tend to rise in January and February. Since it takes about two weeks after the flu shot for an adult to develop antibodies against the flu, make sure to get vaccinated now!
Everyone six months of age or older, particularly children and seniors, should get the flu shot. You can use the “Flu Vaccine Finder” tool from the www.flu.gov page to see what places in your area are offering the vaccination. Typically, pharmacies and your local doctor’s office are your best bet for the flu shot.
Check your health insurance plan, as flu vaccinations usually fall under “Preventive Services,” and are covered free of charge.
Get your flu shot, even if you need to bribe yourself with promises of tasty ice cream desserts to do it.