Why Get the Vaccine?
As someone caring for a sick or disabled family member, you may have so many responsibilities that you put off caring for yourself. One thing you should not postpone is getting a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone over the age of six months receive a yearly flu vaccine. The flu shot is the best way to prevent influenza, lowering your risk by 50-60%. Since the flu virus evolves, it is important that you get vaccinated every year, preferably before the end of October. When you get the shot, you provide your immune system with the opportunity to produce the antibodies that will protect you from the viruses.
Where Can I Get the Vaccine?
Options for walk-ins:
- Urgent care centers
- Some drug stores
- Some grocery stores
Options for appointments:
- Doctor’s office
To find a location near you, visit https://vaccinefinder.org.
Can I Get the Flu from the Shot?
This is a myth! The flu shot is made from inactivated viruses that are not infectious, and so they cannot cause the flu.
Will Getting a Flu Vaccine Guarantee I Don’t Get the Flu?
Unfortunately, because the vaccine is developed months ahead of flu season and because flu viruses are continually evolving, the vaccine is not 100% effective. In recent years, according to the Mayo Clinic, it has had an effective rate of approximately 60% for adults between the ages of 18 and 64. In addition to greatly reducing the risk of getting the flu, the flu shot also reduces the symptoms and severity in the event that you do contract the infection.
What Else Can You Do to Conquer Flu Season?
- Get enough sleep: Target an average of 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Eat nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
- Live an active lifestyle: Try to walk/exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Use sanitizer if you don’t have ready access to water and soap.
- Manage stress: Take deep breaths during stressful moments and allow yourself time to relax.