Health Scheduling Secrets of Busy Mums

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While there are plenty of jokes about 'man-flu', 'mum-flu' is a very real problem. In a lot of households, the mum is the primary carer not only for her partner and her children, but often for elderly parents. So, when mum is sick, who looks after everyone else? What usually happens is she simply soldiers on, feeling terrible but not able to take the time-out she needs to get better. So, as we head into flu season, it's important that all the mums out there get their flu shot!

Out of all the excuses people give for not getting a flu vaccination, being 'too busy' or 'it's too late', are the easiest to address. Here are 5 ways to help busy mums to remember to have their annual flu shot this year:

1. Remember why you're doing this

Herd immunity is very important, if most people are vaccinated it protects those who are unable to get flu shots or have a compromised immune system, like infants, the elderly or those being treated for serious illnesses like cancer. By having a flu shot you are not only protecting yourself, but also your family and the people around you.

2. Timing of the vaccination

Getting vaccinated before the onset of the flu season is recommended. The peak period for influenza circulation is usually June to September in most parts of Australia. There are many myths out there about the flu vaccination giving you the flu, but this is completely untrue. It can take a few weeks for your body to build up immunity; you could have caught an alternate strain of the flu than the four covered by the vaccine; or you may have caught a cold.

3. Plan – we can all find unused chunks of time

Everyone can find the time to have a flu vaccination. Getting a flu shot only takes a few minutes, which means you can have it done in your lunch hour, after work or before school pick-up. And now you can get your flu shot at your local pharmacy. You'll be in and out quickly and remember most community pharmacies also have extended hours and are open on weekends. We suggest calling ahead to find out when the best time is to drop in and get your vaccination. There are certain medical conditions that are associated with increased risk of influenza disease complications and they are eligible for free vaccinations from their GP under the National Immunisation Program. Speak to your GP if you have heart disease, a lung condition like asthma, a chronic illness such as diabetes, chronic diseases of the nervous system, renal disease or failure, a haematological disorder or have a child aged 6 months to 10 years being treated with long-term aspirin therapy. Also speak to your GP about funded vaccines if you fall into one of these groups: Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander persons aged 6 months to less than 5 years or 15 years and over; or if you are pregnant.

4. Make it routine

Flu vaccines change from year to year as new strains of the influenza virus appear. Therefore it's important to get vaccinated each year. If you're concerned that you've left it too late, remember flu outbreaks can occur into spring, so go and get the shot.

5. Support Crew

If you do have any concerns about getting a flu vaccination or you are feeling sick, your local pharmacy is part of your support crew. They are on hand with helpful advice on how to relieve symptoms and even Absence from Work Certificates if you need one.

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