Friday, November 26, 2010
Thanksgiving and vaccinations: Turkeys aren’t the only ones who should get injections
Chances are you and your family are now wondering what to do with all that empty togetherness time. Sure, you can whip out the board games and the Wii, or slog out to the mall and bargain-hunt, but we’ve got some other ideas, and they’re better for your health.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that you use some of your holiday together time to talk with your relatives about your family health history. (As a matter of fact, Thanksgiving is officially National Family History Day.) That’s a great idea, and we here at the Get Ready campaign would like to expand on that to suggest you also take some time to talk about vaccinations. No matter their age, someone in your family probably needs a vaccination. Kids and teens need to stay up on their regular shots, adults need their boosters, and seniors especially need vaccinations for flu and pneumonia.
Take a second to think: Can you remember the last time you had a tetanus shot? They are only good for 10 years, so if you can’t recall, chances are you need one. What about pertussis, aka whooping cough? As recent outbreaks have shown, immunity can wane and your lack of protection can end up endangering those you care about. Come Monday, check with your doctor to see whether you are up to date on your vaccinations, and schedule an appointment if not.
And since you and your family are all together post-Thanksgiving anyway, how about taking a group trip to get your seasonal flu shots? The malls are going to be packed this weekend, but chances are the lines at the local pharmacy counter or in-store clinic will be wide open.
Everyone in your family — as long as they are older than 6 months of age — should get their flu shot this year, according to federal health officials. So give your drug or grocery store a call to see when they are giving flu vaccinations today. Then pile in the car and go do some good for your family health.
Since flu shots are an annual thing, use Thanksgiving as a reminder each year to double-check that everyone in your family is protected. (Who knows? It may even become a new tradition.) After all, it’s not just turkeys that benefit from injections.