Friday, November 21, 2014

It's Flu Season. Are You Ready?

By ready, I don't mean are you stocked up on:
  • kleenex?
  • cough syrup?
  • throat lozenges?
  • pain and fever reducing medicines?
  • chicken soup?
  • juice and fluids of choice to drink?

By ready, I don't mean:
  • Do you have someone lined up to cover your absence at work, for when you or your kids are sick? 
  • Do you have a primary care physician, in case you need a prescription for Tamiflu?
  • Have you stocked up on grocery staples and convenience foods, because you won't feel like going to the store or cooking for a while?

By ready, I don't mean:
  • Do you have extra blankets handy to put on your bed, for when you have the chills?
  • Do you have a second set of sheets available, for when your bed is soaked with fever sweats?
  • Have you taped your favorite shows, so you have something to pass the time while you are sick and can do nothing besides watch television? (Actually, don't worry about planning for this - watching t.v. will only make your pounding headache worse!)
IF you do get the flu, your answers to all of the above questions had better be “yes”!

But --what I really mean, when I ask if you are ready, is:

  1. Have you been taking care of yourself so your immune system is healthy?  (Getting enough rest? Eating a well-balanced diet and taking vitamins? Getting regular exercise?)
  2. Do you practice good hand-washing techniques, all the time? 
  3. Do you avoid contact with others when you are sick, and do you cover your mouth and nose whenever you cough and sneeze?  Do you encourage others to do so as well?
And, of utmost importance... 


When my son would get a shot when he was little, I would hold his hand. This year he didn't need me to.
Good thing, as I was busy taking this picture for this blog!

Don't delay!

Cases of flu have already been reported across the United States, and in the town where I live. It takes a few weeks to develop full immunity, so don't wait until all your friends and co-workers are sick!

Protecting my family

My husband got his flu shot at work early this fall. I was not as proactive about it this year as I should have been. I am embarrassed that it is already nearly the end of November, and I am just now crossing this off my to-do list!

I finally got vaccinated a few days ago, and my son received his shot yesterday. I've been sending daily text reminders to my daughter at college - and she has promised she will get hers tomorrow or by Monday at the latest.

I will be crossing my fingers until two weeks goes by; about the amount of time it will take for us to develop the full protection of the vaccine.  If my kids contract the flu before then, I will feel very guilt for not ensuring that they were vaccinated sooner!

About the vaccine

Getting the flu, at best, feels awful. At worst, it can be life threatening.  It used to be that only certain segments of the population (the very young, the very old, people with certain health conditions, etc.) were recommended to be vaccinated.  Supplies of the vaccine are plentiful now though, and it is recommended that most people (with a few health exemptions) receive an annual vaccine. Check with your doctor if you are unsure if you are a good candidate to be immunized.

Being needle phobic is no longer an excuse to avoid a flu shot! If you prefer, the vaccine is now administered as a nasal spray.

Protect yourself! If you won't do it for yourself, get the vaccine and help prevent spreading the flu to others!

Have you gotten a flu vaccine yet this year? If not, why not?

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  1. We have made this a "family" event since the boys were little, and the last few years they have actually reminded me that we need to go! Our good friend got the swine flu a few years ago, and he was miserably sick for weeks. No time for that! Thanks for the great reminder for everyone Susan - so important.

  2. Sounds like a great family tradition to have! Wishing you all a healthy year!!

  3. You have just identified a positive to our sweltering summers that I hadn't considered. Thank you. I don't need to think about flu - and flu shots for months.

    1. I had never really thought about illnesses being prevalent at different times in different hemispheres! It certainly makes sense though!

    2. I just realized that if I spent half the year own under with Elephant's Child and half the year home in Edmonton, I'd never need a flu shot!!! Worth considering . . .

    3. You might be on to something!

  4. Thanks for this! I forgot my flu shot so I'll be on that this coming week. It's something I always do but it just slipped my mind in all the craziness!


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