I was one of those people who didn’t want a flu shot.
I am not a big fan of receiving shots.
I perceived myself as healthy enough to fight off the illness on my own flu-fightin’ powers.
Then a few years ago I got the flu.
I felt awful. Really, really bad. So terrible. Absolutely icky. Incredibly miserable.
Being sick as a mom is nearly impossible. Mom duties just can’t be paused for a sick day. Fitful naps were being interrupted by little people visiting my bedside as I fumbled to provide the necessities of food, water and kid entertainment.
I learned a very valuable lesson that year. As the flu-fog lifted, I resolved to stop being THAT person.
And I have followed through. Not only have I gotten the flu shot each year since that incident, but I have gotten my kids immunized and even talked my husband into it!
Quite honestly, it is easy. So much easier than having the flu.
7 Simple Steps to Avoid the Flu
1. Call your child’s doctor to see when they expect flu vaccines to be available in their office. Some years are easier than others to get a flu immunization. If your physician doesn’t have flu vaccine inventory, then check HealthMap Vaccine Finder for a location close to home.
2. Schedule an appointment for your child. Get the time on your calendar. I find once something is on my calendar, it can happen! Things that don’t make the calendar are at risk for never happening.
3. Schedule an appointment for yourself earlier that same day. Our family goes to a family practice that allows me to schedule appointments at the same time as my kids. It is really convenient to tell the story just once and have everyone involved seen at the same time.
4. Get your flu shot. Take your child with you to see you get the vaccine. Be brave! Don’t cry. You are setting an example. Kids empathize when seeing things that they know hurt and when you handle it well, it can decrease the stress of their own immunization experience.
5. Hold your child while they get their flu shot. This is time to be mom/dad/caregiver. You just went through this and know it isn’t pleasant. An extra hug and kiss can help decrease the sting.
6. Go for ice cream. OK, so this step may not be proven to decrease your chances of avoiding the flu, but you and your child just made a major step in the right direction and deserve a celebration treat.
7. Wash your hands regularly at home and encourage your family to do the same. Clean hands is one of the biggest ways to avoid the spread of illness. Teach kids how to properly wash and then follow through yourself. Regularly clean your home’s light switches, door knobs and other commonly grabbed surfaces.
Why Getting a Flu Immunization is Important
The flu can be dangerous for kids. Each year 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized from flu complications like pneumonia. The kids who are most at risk are children with long term health conditions like asthma, diabetes or nervous system disorders. Babies under 6 months old are also high risk for flu complications, but are too young to be immunized themselves. The best way to help them is to have everyone who comes in contact with them vaccinated.
More information can be found at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. The CDC has a special area with information specific to parents. A pregnant woman is more at risk for flu complications and can protect herself and her unborn child by getting vaccinated.
There is even a FREE coloring book for kids you can download: Flu Fighter.
Thanks so much to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for sponsoring this post as part of National Immunization Awareness Month #NIAM. All opinions expressed are mine. My family has an appointment with our physician this week to investigate our timeline for following the 7 Simple Steps to Avoid the Flu!