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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Protect Yourself and Others from the Flu

Flu season has arrived in Arizona. The Flu (Influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches, extreme tiredness, stomach symptoms, etc.

Last week, everyone in my family received their flu vaccinations. We each did it differently.

My husband was at his doctor’s office for a regular check-up. The nurse asked him if he’d like to get the shot. He paused to consider it. He is a “I don’t take medicines unless I am near death” type of person. He also never gets sick. This is true. I can count the number of times he has truly been sick on three fingers in the past 10+ years.  So why would he need to get a shot to prevent him from getting sick? Because he has a family, not to mention I asked him to. 

My daughter is four years old and in preschool. I called her pediatrician and made an appointment to get her vaccinated. We went in at the appointed time and talked about the two options: a shot given in the upper arm or a nasal spray. My daughter had received her four-year- old shots a few months ago and still remembered the pain of the needles, so she chose the nasal spray.

I was a bit hesitant about the nasal spray. We tried it last year. She didn’t sit still for the entire amount. She got the flu last year, and it was no fun to see my child sick and listless for a couple of days. However, this year, she sat still and took the entire vaccine like a champ.

I was the only one left. I didn’t feel like making a special appointment at my doctor’s office.  Instead, Iwalked into my local pharmacy. I filled out some paperwork, provided my insurance information, and waited about 10 minutes. My name was called, I walked into a small exam room, and after a few minutes of discussion about my health, I rolled up my left sleeve and took my shot.

Besides your doctor and pharmacy (or grocery store) walk-in clinics, you can get a flu shot at local immunization clinics, community health centers, and even at county health departments.

The Arizona Department of Health Services has good information about the flu, where you can get a vaccine, and more.

I teach my daughter to stop the spread of germs. She knows to cough into her elbow, and washes her hands to the tune of the A-B-C song. And I keep her home from school if she is sick – even if I am ‘too busy’ to miss a day of work.

If you do get the flu, please contain it by staying home from school or work. The flu is not something that we want to spread to others. It may just take you out of commission for a couple of days, but it can have more serious consequences for children and infants, seniors, pregnant women, and people with existing health conditions.

Protect yourself and those around you and get a flu vaccine.

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