Roll Up Your Sleeve: Annual Flu Vaccine

With all the talk about the flu in the news right now, I felt it was important to share my voice. I am one of many who have a condition that makes them more susceptible to the flu and makes it far more dangerous. I have asthma.

Be Brave, Be Srong: Get Your Annual Flu Shot

Typically my asthma isn’t much I think about. I see my primary care physician twice a year. I rarely use my inhaler. I take a simple pill once a day. Although that’s about to be a battle for me since United Healthcare once again thinks it is unnecessary. Isn’t it cute that our health insurance companies think they are smarter than our doctors and pharmacists? (insert annoyed face here)

But I digress … I was diagnosed with asthma in college. Right after, as I started my first job, my company hosted a clinic where any employees wanting the vaccine could head to the break room and roll up a sleeve. Knowing it would help protect me especially given my asthma, I put on my brave face and got my first “adult” flu shot.

I’ll admit, I remember my arm being sore the remainder of the day. But since then? I barely notice it afterward.

A Healthy Habit Begins

In the past 18 years, I have gotten my flu vaccine every year. Even while pregnant. Let me rephrase that, ESPECIALLY while pregnant because then it was not only helping me, but helping my unborn baby.

Each year my husband has also gotten his flu shot and so have our kids. We briefly let our son get the FluMist while it was available, but after it was deemed unsuccessful, we switched him to a shot as well. He’s been a champ about it. Not a single wince or tear.

Brave Patient: Annual Flu Shot digital scrapbook page

Credits: July 2016 template, heART elements, and Nuts about Fall papers by Pink Reptile Designs; Ouch kit by Sahlin Studio.

Getting the Flu even with the Flu Shot

Yes, it is possible to get the flu even if you get the flu shot. I’m proof of that. Although, in the 18 years I’ve continuously gotten my annual flu shot, I’ve gotten the flu exactly once. My kids and husband have not gotten the flu during this time. Those are odds I’ll take any day.

My recent brush with the flu was last year. Unfortunately, it went through quite a few of my coworkers – myself included. However, it was quickly evident who had gotten their vaccine and who didn’t. Those of us with the vaccine were up and back to our *mostly* normal selves after 3 days.

The flu typically lasts 10 – 14 days. I experienced it once as a child (without the flu shot) and my mom will still remind me how I was so sick I wouldn’t even open my Christmas presents! That is something I want to protect my kids from. Or, heaven forbid, worse.

Why We get our Annual Flu Vaccine

I know there is often controversy surrounding vaccines. For my family, we feel getting our vaccines is the right thing to do. Having asthma is the number one reason I personally get a flu shot each year and have been annually since 2000. Having asthma means the flu can be much more severe for me.

Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalized with the flu and one of the more common medical conditions among hospitalized adults. – CDC: Flu and People with Asthma

The last thing I want to do is make myself more susceptible to a hospitalization and/or contracting pneumonia. Both are highly probable for people with asthma. My husband and kids also get their annual flu shot to help keep themselves healthy as well as me.

Keep Calm and Get Your Flu Jab sign

If you are on the fence, look at the facts and remember that by getting your vaccine you are protecting yourself as well as those around you. That’s an amazing action from a simple shot.



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