It’s that time of year againNo, I’m not talking about pumpkin spice lattes, Christmas music, or any of the festivities related to the upcoming holidays.
I’m talking about the thing that wreaks havoc on all the glorious gifts that fall and winter have to offer–the thing that can confine us to our homes very much against our wills.
I’m talking about flu season.
Influenza can be a pretty serious disease according to the CDC. It can lead to hospitalizations and even death, which is really inconvenient if you are trying to go apple picking. Also, you can’t enjoy apple cider donuts and that’s important. Don’t let the flu get between you and your donuts.
At a time when everything and everyone around us is trying to spread holiday cheer, getting the flu can be a real downer. Nobody wants what you’re spreading around by coughing and touching everything in the office.
So how long does flu season last? You should be safe if you make it until, like, January, right? WRONG. The flu is the first to show up and the last to leave a party – it can begin as early as October and last as late as May. Take a hint, flu. We don’t want you around.
So, how exactly, can you avoid this annoying disease?
By getting the flu shot, of course. But, if you’re like me and you have an irrational fear of needles, getting the shot can be a daunting task. Here are the (my) stages of getting a flu shot to encourage you to go and get yours.
1) Many employers are encouraging their employees to stay healthy and get the flu shot. So, you might have gotten a voucher like this.
The flu shot is meant to prevent you getting sick from the flu, and can help protect people around you who might be more vulnerable to serious illnesses.
2) You might be putting it off because you’re too busy, you know, being innovative, and creating startups, and blogging, and curing cancer, but then you realize the voucher is only good until the end of the month.
3) And then, you’ll complain to your co-workers (read: be a baby) like so:
I don’t wannnna, because it might hurrrrt.
Do I have to get it this year? (Answer: YES. For two solid reasons. The body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so getting it every year will help keep you protected at the most optimal level. Also, the flu is very tricky and is constantly changing so the formulation of the vaccine is reviewed and updated every year.)
4) You might ask yourself, how do flu vaccines work, anyway?
Two weeks after vaccination, flu shots cause antibodies to develop in the body that provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
Have a chronic condition? Flu shots have shown to significantly help people with heart disease, and has resulted in a 79 percent decrease in hospitalizations of people with diabetes and 52 percent decrease for people with lung conditions.
5) You might also ask yourself existential questions like, to needle or not to needle?
There are actually nasal spray vaccines you can get if you qualify, like if you’re allergic to eggs or are pregnant. I wish I were allergic to eggs. (JK, no I don’t, because brunch.)
6) Then, you’ll decide to be an #adult and march yourself over to the pharmacy to get that shot.
Flu vaccination lowered the risk of hospitalizations by 61 percent in people 50 years and older.
7) Maybe you’ll cry before entering.
Even if you do end up getting the flu, getting the shot could make it much milder. That means less time in bed and more time with apple cider donuts!
8) But then, you’ll buck up and get the shot.
9) You were brave. Treat yourself to a chocolate. (Or several bags of chocolate. Same thing.)
Have you gotten your flu shot? How was your experience?
GIFs made with the DSCO app.
Yumhee Park is a former content producer for HealthCentral.com.