Protecting Your Family From the Flu

A CVS pharmacist explains some simple ways to keep your family healthy during flu season.

Our Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs, Papatya Tankut, shares important flu prevention tips for you and your family.

As cold and flu season approaches, it’s important that families take preventative measures to maintain healthy habits. More often than not, this responsibility falls into the hands of people who are raising their own children while taking care of their aging parents.­ While this task can seem overwhelming, especially as we near the holidays and the end of the year, caregivers have a wide array of precautionary options available for the whole family to fight off the flu.

Set an Example – Get Your Flu Shot

A recent CVS Pharmacy consumer flu study found that only two in five (41 percent) U.S.­ adults ­receive a flu vaccine every year. With germs lurking in the home and workplace, it’s important to get a flu shot annually because the immunity provided by the vaccine declines over time.

The vaccine can be administered in just minutes at a range of locations, with some of the most common being the doctor’s office and drugstores such as CVS Pharmacy. Our survey found that a quarter of respondents prefer to administer their flu shot at a local pharmacy, due to the ease and convenience of not having to schedule an appointment ahead of time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend getting the flu shot as soon as it becomes available, which is typically in late August. It takes up to two weeks for immunity to build up after getting a flu shot so it is best to get vaccinated sooner rather than later.

Flu Tips for the Whole Family

While good health habits should be practiced year round, there’s no better time to focus on such efforts than during cold and flu season. By following the list of tips below, family­ members of any age can help prevent illness.

  • Wash Your Hands. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water (for at least 20 seconds), several times each day. Throughout the­ course ­of a day, we touch common items and surfaces like door handles and keyboards that are filled with germs. Consider carrying a bottle of hand sanitizer or cleaners while on-the-go.

  • Practice Good Health. Every member of the family – from young children to seniors – should get plenty of sleep each night. Along with a proper amount of rest, it’s important to continue practicing other good health habits. To stay healthy, children and adults should get some amount of­ physical activity ­each day, drink adequate fluids, and eat nutritious food to keep immune systems in top condition during cold and flu season.

  • Consider a High-Dose Flu Vaccination. For people over the age of 65, a high-dose flu vaccination is designed to provide a stronger immune response, as there is a greater risk among this age group to develop severe illness from the flu.

Based on the CVS Pharmacy flu study, a majority (61 percent) of adults are unaware of the high-dose flu vaccine’s benefits towards seniors – in fact, 30 percent mistakenly think the flu vaccine is not safe.

With these preventative tips in hand, the whole family can stay safe and healthy all winter long – making the cold and flu season much less stressful.

For more information on the flu vaccine, please visit­