The holidays are approaching and the last thing you want is to get sick with the flu. What is your first line of defense? Talk to your pharmacist and get your flu shot.

Facts vs. fiction

Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu. It is a myth that you can catch the flu from the vaccine. The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that can’t transmit infection.

By getting a flu shot, you will reduce the chance that you will be infected with the flu virus or that you will pass the virus on to somebody who is at higher risk for complications, such as a baby or elderly person. It takes about two weeks after you receive the vaccine for antibodies to develop to provide protection from the flu. The earlier you get the vaccine, the better. However, even if it is late in the flu season, it still worth getting vaccinated.

“People who are infected with the flu can infect others one day before symptoms develop and 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.”

More options

Other ways to protect yourself from the flu include frequent hand washing and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as germs are spread that way. Flu and other viruses can live for up to 24 hours on inanimate objects like doorknobs and gym equipment, so the virus can spread when people touch something with the flu virus on it and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school — especially when somebody is sick.

Stopping the spread

Flu viruses can also spread from person to person via contact from droplets infected with the virus when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. People who are infected with the flu can infect others one day before symptoms develop and 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. That means somebody could spread the flu before they even know they are sick.

Symptoms may include fever, headaches, extreme tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches and, in severe cases, result in complications and death, especially in the young and elderly. Your pharmacist can recommend the best flu vaccine for your situation and answer any questions or concerns you may have about the vaccine. Don’t take a chance with your health, or with that of your loved ones. Get your flu shot today.