'Last year I didn't get the flu vaccine,' says Candice, a self-employed mum of two boys,' I normally do, because I also care for my elderly parents and my youngest son has mild asthma'.
'I know how important herd immunity is and that if most people are vaccinated it protects those who are unable to get flu shots, or people with a compromised immune system, such as my father who suffers from kidney disease.
'But somehow we were all really busy - my youngest son had started at a new school, work was crazy for me and we just couldn't get everyone organised to go to the doctor and get vaccinated.
'By the time things settled down a bit we were already well into winter and it seemed too late to get a flu shot.
'Then I came down with the influenza A virus. One day I was fine and the next I had the full-on body aches, fever, headache, sore throat and I just wanted to sleep. It couldn't have come at a worse time! I had major deliverables at work and being self-employed meant having a sick day was really hard.
'My husband jokingly described it as 'superwoman having kryptonite poisoning'. I had a serious dose of the mum-flu as I tried to soldier on even though I felt terrible. Out of sheer desperation I went to the doctor and was prescribed medicine. I recovered within a few days, but then the secondary infections started. I think in total by the time I had gotten over everything I must have been sick for about 4 weeks. I'm just really lucky that no one else in the family caught it,' says Candice.
'Too busy' is one of the common excuses given by people who don't get an annual flu vaccination. However getting a flu shot only takes a few minutes and now you can get your flu shot at your local pharmacy. You'll be in and out in a few minutes and remember many community pharmacies also have extended hours and are open on weekends.
Finding the time to visit your pharmacy for a flu shot is nothing compared to the time you will be out of commission if you do contract the flu. If you’re sick, who will take care of the kids? Imagine how challenging it will be if you're also a single parent, self-employed, have a partner who travels a lot for work, or have a deployed spouse in the Defence Force?
Even if you think you've left it too late, get a flu shot. While it's good to get vaccinated as early as possible, flu outbreaks can last well into Spring.
If you do get sick, remember your community pharmacist is there to help. They can provide Absence from Work Certificates as well as practical advice and solutions to help ease your symptoms. Some pharmacies even offer a home delivery service.
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