How to be a flu shot advocate

Thanksgiving – done. Halloween – done. Christmas is on its way. Gatherings of family and friends are in the planning stages. Plan to get your flu shot now so the influenza virus isn’t joining the festivities.

The flu is already here and it is typical to see many cases of the flu come December. Get your flu shot now as it takes about two weeks to be fully effective. And you want it working before kissing your sister’s new baby or hugging your elderly uncle.

Don’t be shy to say, “I got my flu shot – to protect you!”

Hugging an elderly uncle

Even after a festive gathering or everyday family meal the flu virus can linger for hours on hard surfaces such as door knobs, lights switches and the handles of utensils.

The flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu—and you might be most contagious before you actually realize you’re ill. The flu shot will help you to not unknowingly infect your loved ones.

Most people will recover from the flu. But you can be really ill for a week or more. And the flu virus kills. The most vulnerable are elderly individuals, young children and people with underlying health conditions.

And did you know that if your sister hasn’t delivered her baby yet she should get the flu shot? It will protect her health and provide some protection for the baby for up to six months after birth.

Pregnant woman and man cooking in the kitchen; the man is wiping his nose

That’s the thing about the flu shot: it’s not just about you. It is also about those you love and care for and about protecting them. The more people who get the shot the less chance the flu virus has of enjoying one of your holiday celebrations.

Be an advocate for the flu shot. Everyone should get it. It’s safe. It’s the best protection for you and those you care about. The shot may not be 100 percent effective but it’s the best defence against influenza. Seatbelts don’t make your car 100 percent safe, but would you drive without them?

Also, those who say, “I got the flu shot and then I got the flu” could be experiencing one of a few things.

Maybe they came down with something else that feels like the flu but is another respiratory virus.

Maybe the flu shot hasn’t become fully effective yet.

In any case, the flu shot can’t give you the flu.

Flu season etiquette

Wash your hands regularly.

Take some alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you to the mall and to your family Christmas dinners.

Sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve.

And if someone is ill, encourage them to stay home until they’re feeling better.

Let people know you got your flu shot to protect yourself and everyone you care about. Maybe your dinner invitations should include: RSVP only if you’ve had your flu shot.

A multi-generational family cooking in the kitchen