Well, it's that time of year which means not only giving gifts and eating good but also tis' the season for cold and flu. I had the pleasure of dishing with Dr. Yabo both a Mom and Pediatrician regarding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC's), efforts to raise awareness about the importance of you, yes you (me too), getting your flu vaccine. The effort is an annual one for the CDC however this year they are lending increased awareness during National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW). Additionally, the CDC is embracing social media and partnering with Bloggers to get the word out. I was all aboard when invited to participate. Oh, and did you know the risk of getting the flu is that much higher for pregnant women and children under 5?
I was particularly touched by Dr. Yabo's efforts to lend a voice as I am a Mommy myself of 7 year old twins and a 9 year old. To put it simply, I don't play with the flu. I literally just reminded my children's Father a couple of weeks ago regarding the fact that they needed to get their flu shots. He promptly scheduled an appointment and they were in and out having been administered a standard dose of the vaccine in the form of a nasal spray which per the CDC is approved for healthy, non-pregnant people ages 2-49. And for all you Mommy's, the nasal spray is ideal because it's quick and it's painless so no crying or runny noses. It's so customary now; my kids actually look forward to it. Dr. Yabo sees first-hand the consequences of not getting vaccinated. A big misconception is that it's too late to get the flu vaccine. Unbeknownst to me, flu season does not typically peak until January or later and lasts up until May. The vaccine takes about two weeks to get into your system which means getting vaccinated now will still afford you protection. Other common misconceptions can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm.
- The flu vaccine does not give you the flu. The vaccine is actually meant to trick your body into thinking it has the flu thus providing full protection. Side effects such as a fever or sore arm are common. Your Physician should instruct you as to what to look for. You can find more here.
- It is absolutely necessary to get vaccinated every year. The flu virus changes from year to year and the vaccine matches the virus thus providing the best protection.
- Even if you've already had a bout of the flu this season, you can still benefit from getting vaccinated. If you've had it once, you surely don't want to risk getting it again and potentially spreading to other members of your family.
- You have many more options as far as where you can get the vaccine which includes not just your Physician's office but Health Departments, local clinics, retail stores and pharmacies. And most don't even require an appointment. No wait time. You can get in and get out.
Now is as good a time as any. As we all gather together with family for the Holidays and travel to and fro, you nor I want to miss out on the festivities surely nor put ourselves at risk for either getting sick or getting someone else sick by spreading the flu virus. Your best defense, get vaccinated now.
National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) runs from December 8-14, 2013. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw. And you can follow on twitter @CDCFlu.
Have you and/or your children been vaccinated? If not and if I may, what are you waiting for?
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