Last week, our family experienced one of the first signs of fall . . . the start of cold and flu season. Fortunately, this cold virus was mild and only had us sniffling and exhausted for a few days. However, the experience fired us up to get our flu shots ASAP.
Yesterday, the children and I crossed that off our list and my husband will be vaccinated soon.
While it may seem a bit early to think about flu shots, I encourage you to move this to the top of your to-do list. It takes a few weeks after getting the shot for your flu immunity to develop. Here in the Washington area, flu season officially starts in October so it is time to get vaccinated.
This year’s flu shot protects against 3 different flu strains (H1N1, H3N2 and an influenza B virus). Apparently there is also an optional vaccine that protects against 4 different strains.
When we got our shots, the nurse indicated that getting your shot early in the season allows you to pick from various forms of the vaccine. There are about 20 or so different formulations, from shots to nasal drops to egg-free, thimerosol-free and different pediatric vaccines. Later in the flu season, the nurse told us that you just have to take what is available.
This year, we went to a CVS Minute Clinic for our shots. One of the biggest problems for me arranging the flu shots each year is that while I, as an adult, can get my flu shot from various locations, like shopping malls, grocery stores, etc., there are few places that will give flu shots to kids. That leaves me having to find one place to vaccinate myself and make separate arrangements for the children. That’s a lot of work for one quick shot. I was intrigued when I saw that the CVS Minute Clinic would vaccinate children as young as 18 months and was advertising that you could “get the entire family vaccinated in one stop.” Sure enough, you could!
They also give you a 20% off shopping pass to sweeten the deal.
If you are on the fence about getting a flu shot, here are two things to remember:
Remember last winter when the deadly flu strain broke out and vaccine shortages were occurring?
Life is stressful enough without adding the ultimate stress worrying that your children might die from a potentially preventable disease. Do yourself a favor and take this worry off the table now.
Second, appeal to your inner humanitarian. When you get a flu shot, you are doing a favor to the rest of society. Some people, like babies under 6 months or people with certain medical conditions, cannot be vaccinated. The more of us that get vaccinated, the lower the risk for those vulnerable people. By getting a flu shot, we also help to make sure that the emergency room is available for those who need it during flu season (even ourselves and our loved ones!).
In addition to flu shots, I thought these tips from nutritional expert Dr. Sandra Cabot about natural ways to strengthen your immune system and avoid colds and flu were helpful.
*I have no affiliation with CVS or CVS Minute Clinic.