Avoiding the Flu - Time for Vaccination

Oct 29, 2021 | Kristin Eggebraaten | @keggebraaten

The smells of fall are our favorites – apples, fallen leaves, crisp air, and the last of our fresh garden produce. We hope you are enjoying the outdoors safely with family and friends before the colder weather. With the cold comes the viruses, and while we are still talking about COVID and many areas of the country are having another wave of infections, it’s important to protect ourselves against other seasonal viruses as well. We hope all of you have taken advantage of the COVID vaccine and considered a third vaccine if your health care providers recommended it for you. In addition, it’s time to start asking our health care teams about the seasonal flu vaccine.

To avoid having to deal with an illness you could potentially prevent, you should seriously consider a flu vaccine. After all, none of us want to spend this beautiful season of fall colors and flavors in bed with the flu. Our doctors still say that influenza vaccination is the single best intervention you can do to prevent influenza and the complications that can come with it.

Due to the challenges put forth by social distancing, some of the flu vaccine locations such as your workplace, might not be able to offer the vaccine this year. Check with your local doctor on possible safe locations to get the vaccine, or check out your local health department web page for locations near you. Information on vaccines at Mayo Clinic can be found here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated (with an age appropriate vaccine) annually against influenza. Mayo Clinic recommends annual influenza vaccination to all transplant candidates, transplant recipients, their caregivers and other close contacts. As a transplant patient, you should not receive the FluMist, nor should any of your caregivers or close contacts. The FluMist is a live virus vaccine and could cause people with weakened immune systems to become ill. Although not 100% effective, getting a flu shot is worth the needle stick. Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications.

If you are a transplant patient at another facility, contact your care team to ask about their recommendations for this flu season.

What you can do

You’ve heard it so many times during the pandemic, so we are sure we don’t need to remind anyone about how to stay healthy. But it’s our job to give you the list of ways!

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water
  • Use an alcohol-based sanitizer on your hands if soap and water aren't available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth whenever possible
  • Avoid crowds when the flu is most prevalent in your area
  • Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, eat a nutritious diet, and manage your stress

Do you get your flu shot every year? Do you make it a family affair – flu shots together and then a nice dinner out? Tell us about how you stay healthy!



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