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For years I have been saying this- please stay home if you are sick. With two kids that have asthma, the flu season is often one of the most challenging times of the year for us. Some years are worse than others, and we have definitely learned some tips that have kept us all a lot healthier, even when there are a lot of other people in our area with the flu. Disclosure: I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy for their 2017 influencer relations program. All opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers.
This wonderful holiday time of year is also flu season, and it is all around us right now. We have friends and family who are suffering from it and I keep telling Pete everytime another person shares that they have the flu how happy I am that we got flu shots back in September.
Nobody has time for that and being bedbound and that ill can really put a damper the holiday spirit. Twice in my life, I can remember missing out on a lot of holiday activities because I was sick and it was something that still bothers me today. That is why we take every precaution possible to stay healthy.
Did you know that getting a flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from catching the flu? It is important to get the flu shot every year because the immunity provided by the vaccine declines over time.
Because it takes up to two weeks for your immunity to build up after getting a flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends you get vaccinated as soon as flu vaccines become available. For us, we are especially aware of the timing of the release because of all of our travels. We don't ever want to get the flu away from home. That would make matters even worse.
Each year we get our flu vaccine (aka flu shot) at one of CVS’ 9,600 retail pharmacy locations and more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics (MinuteClinic). We save time and love that in addition to the vaccine, they also have everything you need for flu prevention including multivitamins and anti-bacterial cleaning products. They are open every day, including evenings and weekends, with no appointment needed. If the flu does find you, they also have over-the-counter cold and flu remedies to keep you comfortable.
We normally get our vaccination in our neighborhood MinuteClinic because they are able to vaccinate children (18 months and older in most states). You can even view wait times and schedule a visit online, or walk-in anytime. If you don't have a younger child, CVS Pharmacy locations can vaccinate adolescents through seniors and are administered by a certified immunizing pharmacist. Age and state restrictions apply.
Here are some common myths about the flu and the flu shot:
Myth #1: You should wait until flu season officially starts (October 1) to get the vaccine.
The CDC recommends getting the flu shot as soon as it becomes available. It takes up to two weeks for your immunity to build up after getting a flu shot so it is best to get vaccinated as soon as you can.
Myth #2: The flu shot gives you the flu.
The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so people cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Minor side effects including soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, a low grade fever, and/or aches may occur. These side effects begin soon after the shot and usually last one to two days. Almost all people who receive the influenza vaccine have no serious problems as a result of receiving it.
Myth #3: The flu is only spread by coughing and sneezing.
While the flu is spread by coughing, sneezing, and even talking, the flu virus can survive for a few hours or even a day on surfaces and in enclosed spaces. The most common way the flu virus is spread is when hands that have been in contact with contaminated surfaces go near your face. That’s why you should wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based cleanser.
Now that you have more information on the flu and the flu shot, here are some of our favorite tips to stay healthy.
Tip #1: Wash your hands.
Touching everyday items like door handles and other surfaces can be difficult to avoid. To help combat germs, wash hands frequently (especially after coughing or sneezing) with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose. Alcohol-based soaps and hand cleansers are effective when you are on-the-go. 41 percent of Americans regularly use hand sanitizer to stop the spreading of germs (up 3% from last year’s survey results)
Tip #2: Practice good health habits.
Getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking adequate fluids, and eating nutritious food are all healthy habits that can help to keep your immune system in top condition during flu season.
Tip #3: Stay home if you’re sick.
A recent CVS Pharmacy consumer flu survey found that nearly two in three (65 percent) of employed Americans would still go to work even if they were feeling ill with flu-like symptoms. It’s important to understand the preliminary symptoms of the flu, and if you or your child is experiencing them, stay home. This will help bolster your immune system and avoid the spread of germs throughout the workplace or classroom.
This last tip is my absolute favorite. It is so important to help each other stay healthy and not exposing other people to the flu is a great way to do so. Plus, I know that I always feel better when I take it easy, stay hydrated, and get lots of rest when I am sick.