It was time, I knew it was coming and so I held my breath and put clothes out on the bed and pretended we were just going to the grocery store. (Instead of going to get our flu shots.)
We were just easing into the month of October and already I’d overheard other parents’ low chatter about fevers, viruses and need for doctor’s appointments. I wasn’t taking any chances even if I was met with resistance and crocodile tears.
It can be said that I can be a bit of a pushover but I’m also a mama and I still remember the last time that when we opted to skip the flu shot our entire family got the flu. So every year since we get to the end of summer, I buy new backpacks and wait for the right time to tell my sons they’ll have to endure barely one second of pain in order to make sure we don’t have to use our PTO days as sick days because the flu is a lousy way to spend a couple days off.
What IS the flu? The flu is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. It can develop very quickly and with the flu, you almost always have a fever. Other common symptoms include headache, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy or runny nose and muscle aches. No fun!
When is “flu season?” Flu season does not necessarily have a specific start and end date. The timing, severity and length of the annual flu season vary, but outbreaks can begin as early as October, and has a tendency of peaking around January.
We made our way to the CVS MINUTE CLINIC closest to our house. I don’t know if you’ve tried the Minute Clinic yet for your health needs but I love it. It’s like my favorite place to get my haircut: No appointments are needed, the staff is friendly, knowledgeable and helpful, and I always walk out feeling better. Plus they accept most major insurance (which normally cover the cost of a flu shot!) and cash payments. This makes it so much easier for you as a family because you don’t have to endure the wait of making an appointment and waiting at a doctor’s office.
This year there are several types of the flu vaccine:
• Regular seasonal flu shot . The Minute Clinic is offering the Trivalent and Quadrivalent shot this year:
o Trivalent Vaccine (TIV) contains 2 A strains and 1 B strain of the
influenza virus. This has been the standard flu vaccine since the late 1970s.
o Quadrivalent Vaccine (QIV) protects against an additional B strain. This vaccine was created based on research from the past 12 influenza seasons. This vaccine offers an additional layer of protection against the flu.
• High dose vaccination for customers 65 years and up (provides an elevated level of antigens, which create a stronger immune response in seniors)
MinuteClinic vaccinates patients 18 months and older. If you have a child between 6-18
months, they should receive their vaccination from a pediatrician. *Disclaimer: 18months and older; 24 months in KY; 5 years and older in CT.
The CRNP greeted us, helped us check in online at the touch screen and even remembered us from last year. She quietly asked me how Jacob felt about our visit and I confessed that he was a little skiddish but that I’d assured him we’d make it as painless as possible and that maybe (perhaps) I’d promised him a lollipop at the end.
To say our trip was uneventful would be a massive understatement. There was just no drama at all this year. The boys watched John and I get our flu shots, Jacob actually held John’s hand “just in case it hurts Daddy!” and then when it was time for the boys they both hopped onto my lap, let their arm “go dead” as instructed and one small pinch later and two minion band-aids later ( parents go ready band-aids. Unfair!) we were done and walking toward the door.
Not one tear from Jacob.
That’s how easy it is to get vaccinated.
My healthy, vaccinated kiddos
Of course staying healthy, washing your hands (especially after touching that touch screen or any place that is used by lots of people) , covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and using disinfect doesn’t hurt. Eating and sleeping well will also add an extra level of protection to your immune system but the best way to prevent getting the flu is getting your annual flu shot. (Yep, every year! It’s a myth that once you’re vaccinated that you don’t need to be again. A new vaccine is developed every year to those protect against those strains.)
And just so we clear about up the other myths about it:
The Flu shot doesn’t make you sick. It’s a dead vaccine. Meaning it’s not able to make you ill.
Fall is not too early to get your shot. Because it takes about 2 weeks for the antibodies to develop in your system (and with Halloween on the way. Germs, germs, germs) it’s one of the best times to look into getting your shot.
And the CDC put together this PDF file that CVS Minute Clinic is sharing. It answers all those questions you still have that I can’t answer because I’m not a medical professional (and sadly, I don’t play one on TV either).
Being a mom these days is an infinite check list of To-Do’s and often we don’t make time for things like getting vaccinated. But like I told my sons as they licked those lollipops I’d promised, “Now that we got our flu shots we’ll have time for all the fun things about fall without being worried that we’ll get sick!”
HAPPY AUTUMN! Get your Flu Shot!
(Hey, maybe there’s a lollipop in it for you!)