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One of Those Things You Gotta Do — The Flu Shot

A Veteran smiles as a nurse prepares his flu shot

Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea.

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer
Monday, November 4, 2013

Yeah, you have to carve out about an hour to get it done — where can I get my flu shot? How long will it take? How long will my arm be sore?

But, boy is it worth it! You don’t want to be the one about Super Bowl time who gets banished to the basement with all your pills because you have THE FLU!

This is serious stuff. Tens of thousands die each year of flu and pneumonia.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.

Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season.

Want to find out everything you need to know about the flu? Start here.

It’s time. Get your flu shot. Flu shots are available for Veterans enrolled in VA health care. Check with your nearest VA health care facility or call 1-877-222-8387 to confirm supply.

The flu and pneumonia are very serious illnesses, much more serious than you may realize.

And VA’s great program, My HealtheVet has the answer to probably every question you have about flu shots. Take a minute to read these helpful facts:

Influenza, commonly called the flu, and pneumonia are very serious illnesses, much more serious than you may realize.

It is a whole lot easier to get the flu than you may think. The flu is an airborne virus. It’s usually transmitted when someone coughs or sneezes. Many people around you carry the flu virus and could give it to you.

And if you get the flu, you could give it to your caregiver, your family, your friends or anybody you come into contact with.

Getting the flu is easy. It’s even easier to get the flu shot.

So how do the shots protect you? They make your immune system stronger and get it ready to fight off the viruses. After the shots, you may have some slight aches and pains for a day or two. Some, but not all, people get a slight fever and feel a bit weak.

These symptoms show that the shots are working and are very mild compared to how bad you would feel if you get the flu or pneumonia. Flu season starts in December every year.

There’s no need for people to die from the flu or pneumonia. These illnesses are preventable and prevention is easy.

Do your part. Protect yourself, protect your loved ones and get vaccinated. You just might be saving your life.

You can take everyday preventive steps like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.