Monday, February 08, 2016

Get Ready Mailbag: De-bunking flu shot myths

Welcome to another installment of the Get Ready Mailbag, when we take time to answer questions sent our way by readers like you. Have a question you want answered? Send an email to

My family talked about the flu over the holidays. I was surprised to learn my aunt didn’t get her flu shot this year. And my brother said he doesn’t need a flu shot because he’s young and healthy. How can I set them straight?

Thanks for asking! The best way to counter misinformation is with the facts. Let’s debunk some of the most common misconceptions related to the flu vaccine.

Myth: The flu shot can give you the flu
The facts: The flu shot is made from inactivated forms of the flu virus. It can’t give you the flu. It’s possible your aunt had side effects like soreness from her vaccination. Or that she caught the flu before her shot took effect, as the vaccine needs about two weeks in your body before it can fully protect you from the flu. But her shot did not give her the flu.

Myth: Healthy people don’t a need flu shot
The facts: Some people are more likely to get the flu than others, including seniors and those with chronic illness. But even healthy people can catch the flu and become sick. Also, people with the flu can spread it to others. So the shot will protect your brother and everyone he interacts with, like your parents and your kids.

Myth: You don’t need a shot every year
The facts: Even if you got your flu vaccination last year, flu viruses are always changing. Scientists update what’s in the flu shot each year to give you the best chances of avoiding the strains that are circulating. Also, flu shot protection wanes over time, meaning last year’s shot doesn’t offer any protection now.

Myth: By this time of year, it’s too late to get a flu shot
The facts: It’s not too late! Flu is occurring around the country right now.Getting the flu shot today can still protect you.

We hope you share these facts with your family members! Find a convenient location to get your flu shot with Healthmap Vaccine Finder. And learn even more about the flu with our Get Ready fact sheet.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

New year, new chances to be prepared with APHA’s Get Ready calendar

First-place runners-up poll winner
by Mary-Kate Duffy
2016 is here! Looking for a place to write down all your New Year’s resolutions? What if you could track those healthy habits while also learning how to be better prepared for emergencies?

Download APHA's Ready, Pet, Go! Get Ready Calendar and get started today! The 2016 calendar, which is available online, showcases adorable animal pictures from our photo contest and ways to keep you and your loved ones safe. With these great preparedness tips, you’re sure to have the best — and safest — year yet.

And while you’re on our website, don’t miss the winners of our runners-up poll! We had so many great entries from our calendar photo contest, we decided we had to share more than just the winners. The beautiful bird photo by Mary-Kate Duffy earned almost a third of your votes. Our second-place runner-up was the cat by Michele Samarya Timm, and third was Cooper the dog by Jennifer Simmons. Congrats to our winners and their photogenic animals, and thanks for voting!

Get your copy of the 2016 calendar today and print one to share with family and friends.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Infographic: 5 ways to prevent the flu

Do you know how to prevent the flu? Check out these 5 easy tips.


1. Get vaccinated

Getting vaccinated is the most important way you can protect yourself from the flu. When you get vaccinated, you’re much less likely to get sick.
2. Wash your hands often

Hand-washing is a great way to get rid of germs. Washing your hands with soap and water before and after eating, after coughing or sneezing and after using the bathroom can make a big difference when preventing flu. 
3. Stay away from people who are sick

Keeping your distance from others who have the flu can reduce your chance of getting sick. Flu viruses can spread through air and via surfaces, so stay away from people who are sick.
4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands

Touching surfaces that are contaminated with germs and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth can allow for the flu virus to enter your body.
5. Practice good hygiene

Clean surfaces and objects in your home, at work, at school and elsewhere to reduce the chances of spreading the flu.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Test your knowledge of preparedness with a Get Ready quiz

Think you know it all about getting ready for disasters? How's your knowledge of flu vaccinations?
Test your knowledge of preparedness in one of our new Get Ready quizzes and find out just how ready you are.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It’s time to get smart about antibiotics

Did you know that every year, at least 2 million people in the United States are infected with bacteria that can’t be cured by antibiotics — and at least 23,000 die because of it?

Antibiotic resistance makes some medicines unable to stop or heal sickness. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientist Arjun Srinivasan, MD, told us that we all have a role to play in keeping antibiotics effective. During Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, he told Get Ready several “simple things like cleaning your hands properly using soap and water” and getting flu shots can help.

“What these things do is they reduce your chance of getting ill,” he said. “And we know if you don’t get ill, you’re less likely to wind up in a doctor’s office or an emergency department where you might get an antibiotic prescription that you may not need.”

Listen to our podcast with Srinivasan, and learn how you can get smart about antibiotics.