Keep healthy this flu season

flu shot

When you get your flu shot you are sent home with a need to know document.

I got my flu shot on Friday.

Over the weekend it occurred to me that I should write a post about it. Mostly because there are so many myths about getting the flu shot.

I have gotten the flu shot for at least the past 10 years in a row (and got it while I was a kid and part of the time I was in college) and the shot has NEVER made me sick or get the flu.

I know a lot of people don’t want to get the flu shot for a variety of reasons. And that’s your right.

But if you aren’t going to get the vaccine there are other things you can do to prevent the spread of the flu (and other illnesses).

You should also do these things if you get the flu vaccine.

Regularly wash your hands. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer (I keep some in my purse and I used to keep it on my desk at work).

Clean your work/home desk, cell phone, keys, door knobs, light switches, anything you touch and are in contact with regularly with Clorox or Lysol wipes.

If you are sick, stay home. Don’t share your germs. You will get healthier quicker if you let your body rest and stay at home.

If your kid is sick and sent home from school or daycare DON’T bring them to work with you. If they are too sick to be at school or daycare then they need to be at home and not spreading their cooties and germs in an office.

Here’s the CDC’s list of things you can do to stop the spread of germs at home, work and school:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Good health habits.
    • Avoid close contact.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough/sneeze.
    • Clean your hands.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Stop the spread of germs.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects.

For more details, read here.

Last year I did a post on the many myths of the flu vaccine along with a little Q&A. You can read the full post here.

The one I would like to repeat this year is:

Myth: The flu vaccine can give you the flu

According to WebMD, injected flu vaccines only contain dead virus, and a dead virus is, well, dead: it can’t infect you. There is one type of live virus flu vaccine, the nasal vaccine, FluMist. But in this case, the virus is specially engineered to remove the parts of the virus that make people sick.

Despite the scientific impossibility of getting the flu from the flu vaccines, this widespread flu myth won’t die. Experts suspect two reasons for its persistence.  One, people mistake the side effects of the vaccine for flu. While side effects to the vaccine these days tend to be a sore arm, in the past, side effects often felt like mild symptoms of the flu. Two, flu season coincides with a time of year when bugs causing colds and other respiratory illnesses are in the air.  Many people get the vaccine and then, within a few days, get sick with an unrelated cold virus. However, they blame the innocent flu vaccine, rather than their co-worker with a runny nose and cough.

And remember the vaccine can’t possibly protect us from every strain of flu. But it is important to protect ourselves and others from illnesses.

Let’s stay healthy this flu season.

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