I totally understand. And as a parent, I feel your pain. But the fact is, getting a flu shot is the best way to protect you, your family and the people around you from getting sick this season. It’s better to get a flu shot instead of foregoing the vaccine altogether due to proven ineffectiveness of the Flu Mist.

The announcement that the Flu Mist was not effective in preventing the flu should not deter anyone from getting vaccinated to protect against the flu virus.

There is ample supply of the injectable vaccine; and the minor irritation that may be associated with a flu shot is nothing compared to the sickness and potential loss of school or work that results from getting the flu.

Vaccination is especially important for children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and people with asthma, diabetes and other long-term conditions who are at high risk from flu complications.

Most experts believe that flu viruses are spread most often by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.

But getting vaccinated isn’t the only step we can take.

In addition to getting the seasonal flu vaccine; there are other things everyone can do to prevent contracting and spreading the flu.

They include:

  • If you aren’t feeling well, stay home
  • If your children are ill, keep them at home
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way
  • Cover your cough
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer

The seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza (flu) viruses.

It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The signs and symptoms of the seasonal flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

The flu is not something to be taken lightly, and the flu shot is not something to be avoided.

This is not the time to be brave. Or timid. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get vaccinated.

Eric Gomez, M.D., is a Mayo Clinic Health System infectious diseases specialist.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArolaMFP.

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