Flu season is here, and health officials recommend getting the vaccine soon

    Flu season is here again, and businesses across the nation are going to face a huge challenge in keeping their workspaces clean and healthy given the many germs that are going to be floating around their employees.

    Anita Pillai, a Walgreen’s pharmacist in Rochester, Michigan, believes that employers and employees alike should be doing all they can to prevent and protect themselves against flu and related illnesses. That means getting the flu vaccine at a doctor or pharmacy.

    Pillai is known among her patients for giving the flu shot in a quick yet kind way – she even has repeat customers of all ages who say they will only get their vaccines with her. She says her trick is to massage the arm where she is about to give the shot, to distract the person receiving the shot and to make sure her patients feel comfortable with the whole procedure.

    “I have a simple message, and it is that it is always best to get the flu shot than to get the flu,” Pillai says. “We work hard to educate our patients and make sure they know all of the facts. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, and we want everyone to know that the flu vaccine will build soldiers inside your body to give you immunity and to fight the influenza virus.”

    Here are some reasons why health advocates like Pillai want to make sure people who are healthy get vaccines, people who are sick stay home and people who are contagious avoid the public.

    • Stay home. For the first 24 hours of the flu, you tend not to show obvious symptoms, but you are contagious for several days from that point forward, Pillai says. She recommends people stay home, especially when you transfer the virus through person-to-person contact.

    • Protect yourself and others at work. Protection against germs on shared objects such as telephones, keyboards, and transit rails is even more important as flu season approaches. Early methods to protect yourself and others, such as the flu vaccine, gives people the chance to help themselves and others.

    • Don’t wait for a vaccination. The 2017-18 flu season was one of the most severe in the United States, and it hit early, per a recent bulletin issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Walgreen’s survey revealed 40 percent of Americans believe this season’s flu severity will be the same as last year and 12 percent say it will be worse.