You can help protect your family from influenza this season by getting a flu shot. In most homes, women are the primary caregivers for their children, grandchildren, parents, spouses or other family members.
Women are also more likely to care for someone considered high risk, such as family over 65 and children under five. With such a critical role to play, it is important that you stay healthy. Doing that will help keep your family members healthy too.
Getting your flu shot protects you and your family in many ways. First, when you’re healthy, you’re able to continue caring for those close to you. Second, you keep them from getting flu from you. If you are a babysitter or caregiver to seniors, you should make getting vaccinated for influenza a priority.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 50-70% of hospitalizations and 70-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in those 65 and older. A history of stroke, heart attack, kidney, liver, and heart diseases put the body at risk for complications or death when infected with the flu.
According to the CDC, the week following a flu infection raises the risk of heart attack to six times higher than normal.
As a Veteran enrolled in VA health care, you can go to your local VA Medical Center, or to one of VA’s many Community Care Network (CCN) partners to receive a flu shot at no cost. These include pharmacies, grocery stores and urgent care centers. Your family members may be able to receive a flu shot at these locations as well.
It is important that all caregivers and others in your household over 6 months old get a flu shot each year.
After your flu shot, you are less likely to get the flu or spread it to your loved ones. So, protect yourself and your family by making sure you each get your flu shot!
Retired Navy Master Chief, Veronica Lawrence put it best by saying, “While on active duty, I took the flu shot to protect myself and my fellow service members. As a Veteran, I take the flu shot to protect myself and those I love most… my family!”
How to Get the Flu Shot at No Cost to You
Veterans enrolled in VA health care can get a flu shot at no cost at any local VA medical center or at over 60,000 VA Community Care Network locations around the country.
To find your local options for a flu shot:
- Check with your local VA facility for drive-through flu shots events or special flu clinics.
- Call the Women Veterans Call Center at 855-829-6626.
- Call or message your provider or Women’s Health PACT Nurse.
- Find a VA community partner at https://www.va.gov/find-locations.
- Be sure to bring your VA ID when you go to a community partner or participating pharmacy.
Pregnant? Click here to see why pregnant women need a flu shot to protect themselves and their baby.
VHA – General flu website at www.prevention.va.gov/flu.
VHA – Factsheet on Pregnancy at https://www.prevention.va.gov/docs/flu/.
CDC – Persons at high risk for flu at www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk.
VA Women’s Health Services contributed to this story.