Give your self some peace of thoughts and add a flu shot to your vacation to-do record

Dr. Don Wilber is a retired pediatrician, a board member of the Oklahoma Caring Foundation, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a member of the American Medical Association, and a vice president of the Oklahoma State Medical Licensure Board.

It’s Christmas time and most of us have long to-do lists by the end of the year. If you are making your list and double-checking, remember to make your health a priority by getting your annual flu shot well in advance of the holidays.

The flu season in the United States generally lasts from October through April, with peaks in December and February. While we may have had a milder flu season than usual in 2020, that shouldn’t stop anyone from getting the flu vaccine this year. The flu is still a noxious virus: on average, seasonal flu infects up to 20% of the US population, with more than 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths from flu-related complications each year. Fortunately, getting the flu shot every year is one of the best ways to prevent contracting the flu virus.

Just like the COVID-19 virus, the flu virus can be spread through group meetings and close contact with others, which is especially common this time of year thanks to holiday celebrations and family gatherings. By taking the time to get a flu shot now, you can protect yourself and others before every vacation get-together so that you don’t unknowingly pass the flu on to others.

If you’re like me, you might find yourself rushing to different vendors, events, and dates each holiday season. If you’re braving the crowds in malls, grocery stores, and even churches, getting the flu shot can give you extra protection from the unknown germs that might lurk on surfaces and in the air.

The holidays can be stressful and jam-packed, and I understand that this is one more thing I ask you to address on this ever-growing to-do list. Your decision to get the flu shot is invaluable, however: it will give you the peace of mind that you are doing everything possible to keep yourself and others in your communities healthy. Let’s remember the reason for the season and let’s do our part to protect each other this winter.

Dr. Don Wilber is a retired pediatrician, a board member of the Oklahoma Caring Foundation, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a member of the American Medical Association, and a vice president of the Oklahoma State Medical Licensure Board.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Point of View: Add a Flu Shot to Your Vacation To-Do List

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