You Can Get Flu Shots in Airports….And I Didn’t.

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It’s that time of year, Christmas trees, twinkly lights, dustings (or dumpings) of snow, oh and hacking coughs, fevers, aches, etc.  In other words, it is flu season.  Usually my family is pretty good about getting flu shots, because while there is no guarantee that will protect you from the flu, we have had a pretty good track record with it, and having the flu is no fun at all.

This year we had an appointment to get the shots the week of Thanksgiving since our daughter was off from school anyway (and young kids can often only get the shot from a doctor, not at a pharmacy or walk-up kiosk).  It sounded like a perfect plan, only we got so busy that week coming back from a trip and getting ready to host Turkey Day that we simply forgot about the appointment.  Our intentions were still to get the shots since flu season often runs through March, but being insanely busy now with holiday activities at C’s school, Christmas parties, and more, it hadn’t happened yet.  I know, excuses, excuses. 

And then the extreme exhaustion, nasty cough, body aches, congestion, and fever hit me out of nowhere.  Great.  By being too busy/forgetful to show up to our flu shot appointment, my consolation prize was being knocked on my tail with the flu.  As soon as I recognized what was going on yesterday, I went to the doc, got diagnosed, got Tamiflu (which by the way I am convinced makes me feel at least as bad as the flu itself), and am keeping my fingers crossed that I am not the cause of a massive outbreak both in my family and at C’s school since I literally touched every single kid there hours before I started feeling sick at a Christmas Fair.  I’d like to say, “lesson learned”, but the reality is I already knew better, I just goofed and apparently waited too long to fix my mistake.  I’m sure flying a couple days on an airplane that sounded more like a sick ward than an airplane a couple of days before I began showing symptoms didn’t help.

So what is the solution for busy travelers who want to stay healthy during flu season, but find their schedules taking them everywhere but the doctor’s office?  Well in addition to obviously washing your hands as often as possible and praying you aren’t seated next to Patient X, I love the idea of getting a flu shot in the airport itself.  While not as many airports offer this service as did a few years ago, there are still a few that can give you your flu shot quickly in between flights.

  • O’Hare
  • JFK
  • Newark
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • Nashville
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

This article has more details about when/where you can get the shots in some airports.  Sadly I didn’t find any info about flu shots in Texas airports this year, but regular travelers will likely find themselves transiting at least one of those participating airports.  Remember it takes a couple weeks for the shots to really become effective, so don’t wait any longer than you need to, or you may end up like me.  As travelers we can be even more susceptible since we are in close confines with people who may have the flu for hours at a time.  Also, if you start to feel like you have the flu get yourself to a doctor ASAP if you want to take the antiviral Tamiflu, as it needs to be started in the first two days of symptoms.  That means if you start feeling crummy on the road, don’t wait until you get home to seek treatment.  Of course, I’m not a doctor so don’t confuse this with medical advice, but that is my “mom approved” advice.

Have you ever got a flu shot in an airport?  What do you think of the idea?  Regardless of how you do it, stay healthy this flu season, and apologies in advance if I’m a little light on posts while battling this crud.

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  1. Getting a flu shot at the airport is better than not getting one. Problem is it takes about 2 weeks before it becomes effective. Too little, too late? Hope you feel better real soon —-

  2. Rich, very true if you then sit next to someone with the flu on your flight, but hopefully you can get it at the airport and stay healthy while it kicks in.

    Thanks for the well wishes.

  3. Couple things to keep in mind:

    1) Some people have a few symptoms within days after getting a flu vaccine. This is often mistakenly called “getting the flu” when what it is, is you have a sufficiently agressive immune system that the antibodies you are generating to PREVENT getting the flu have a side effect. Having a very active immune system carries a price, see “cytokine storm” and the high death rate among people in their prime in 1918. In any case I wouldn’t get a flu shot right before embarking on a trip, maybe on the return.

    2) Getting vaccinated is no guarantee, the vaccine doesn’t always work for everyone. The point is to provide herd immunity so infections are damped out, not protect everyone.

    3) Many people say they have “the flu” when what they really have is a bad cold. I’ve had H1N1 and it nearly killed me, and it in no way compares to what most people call in sick about.

  4. I often wonder how many people actually know what’s in a flu shot…
    As for myself, I simply take my vitamins and supplements, and have never (and will never) have a flu shot. I get sick maybe 1-2 a year and it’s always minor.
    Yet, I know plenty of people that have gotten sick way more often than they used to only AFTER they started getting a shot.
    Please educate yourselves on these ‘vaccines’, please…

  5. Seriously? You’re one of those that think the flu shot is the way to go? I survived 35 years without any flu shot and am healthy or healthier than you. Forget the nonsense, and don’t stuff yourself with garbage.

    Take Dr. Schulze multi vitamins, and echnecia, and you’ll be fine.

    I prmise you I don’t work for Dr. Schulze, just happen to love what he offers, and after listening what he says, you the puzzle starts to make sense. Medical docs are here to make money, don’t fall for them. Please.

  6. I’m actually not at all one that thinks there a shot, pill, or modern medicine cure/prevention for everything. I think doctors are great for somethings, but I’m not one who is frequently at the doctor’s office.

    That said, once I had a little one who was in an environment with lots of other little kids, the incidence of illness in this household skyrocketed. I used to work in a hospital and would not get sick by taking proper precautions, but not much you can do when it is often your own little kid that brings germs home. So, we try to lessen the odds by doing what we can. No perfect answer for everyone, but the game does dramatically shift when germs march in your house in the form of a cute three year old with pigtails.

  7. I just can’t believe it when non-medically trained “experts” risk their health and their children’s by not getting ANY shots. When the next pandemic breaks out here, as occurs often in Africa, and while it will be too late, maybe these attitudes will change. Polio, once wiped out, is now rearing its ugly head again. To each its own!

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