Got Flu Vaccine?
It is that time of year when the leaves turn on the color, the air turns crisp and Dunkin Donuts starts selling Pumpkin Spice coffee. This are a few of nature’s gentle reminders that now is the time for my readers and lurkers to starting thinking about the 2011/2012 Influenza vaccination or as it is more commonly known – the flu shot. Please note this vaccine also protects against the variant influenza strain H1N1.
In February 2010, CDC released a recommendation to expand immunization to every person aged 6 months or older. I concur with the findings and urge everyone who is able to get the flu shot. To help in your decision process, here is a link to a CDC web post with pertinent information on the flu vaccine, contradictions, and why this vaccine is important.
While the flu shot greatly lowers your risk of contracting seasonal influenza, the flu shot does not work right away. It takes about two weeks for your immune system to build antibodies. Within that time frame you may contract seasonal influenza, so I would advise you to seek the vaccine early in the season rather than later.
In addition to the vaccine, there are other tools at your disposal to help reduce your risk of acquiring seasonal influenza. These are simple, common sense habits that can be incorporated into your daily activities and can help reduce your risk of getting the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. It is important to keep with you a personal sized bottle of an alcohol based hand sanitizer. When purchasing this item check that the percentage of the active ingredient ‘ethyl alcohol’ is above 60 percent, anything lower will not effectively sanitize your hands. I personally use and strongly recommend Purell gel hand sanititzer. Stay away from sprays, spritz or wipes as the gel delivers the right amount to sanitize your hands properly.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Our hands are fantastic vehicles for ‘tranisent’ bugs such as the influenza virus, this is why it is so important to wash your hands frequently.
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Protecting yourself from the spread of the Influenza virus comes down to consistent application of basic hygiene practice along with yearly immunization. You can find more information about influenza at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
My dear readers, this season please spread the love, not the germs – get your flu shot!
I have not been compensated in any form by Purell, my recommendation is purely based on my experience with hand sanitizers.