Feeling Human Again, Mostly: Next Up- Flu Season

I’ve been down for the count with a respiratory illness since September 18. You might think it’s weird that I know the exact day, but calendars are my thing. Since then, I’ve been to the doctor 4 times (4 different doctors, but that’s another story for another day), I’ve had two chest x-rays, and I’ve filled six prescriptions for myself. I really wish that it was, oh, April right about now. Unfortunately, it isn’t, and we are heading right into flu season.

Something one of the above doctor’s spoke to me about was the importance of getting a flu shot this year. With the havoc that pneumonia (and the rounds of steroids) has wreaked on my immune system, contracting the flu this year could be very dangerous. I can’t get mine yet, but once I’m cleared, I’m getting my shot.

During my recuperation, I was able to take part in a Twitter chat sponsored by CVS, and it was an informational hour, peppered with facts provided by the CDC. There were a lot of thoughtful questions asked, and answers were provided. Here are a couple of things that I learned/was reminded of during the chat:

Flu Season can run from October through as late as May (!) The day I was diagnosed with pneumonia, I was also tested for the flu. The doctor told me that even though it was only September, there were a lot of positive flu tests in our area. SUPER.

How can you tell if it’s the flu? If you have a strain of influenza, you will have a fever. In addition to cold-like symptoms, body aches are common. The flu comes on fast, and you can be contagious one day before you fall ill yourself.

The flu vaccine gets tweaked every year…and people need to be vaccinated every year. Also, NOW is the time get your shot. It takes about two weeks after your vaccination for your body to be fully protected.

Ready to get your flu shot? Minute Clinics has three different types of vaccines available:

  • Regular seasonal flu shots
  • Intradermal shot for those who don’t like needles (approved for adults age 18-64)
  • HIgh-dose vaccine for adults over 65

When you get your flu shot at a Minute Clinic inside your local CVS, you’ll not only get peace of mind, you’ll get a 20% off  CVS shopping pass!

FluPLusYOUcollageOf course, prevention is the best medicine, so in addition to getting a vaccination, be sure to remind your family members of the following:

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth when possible

Want to learn more? Browse the #FluPlusYou hashtag on Twitter, and visit the information posted on the CDC website.

Disclosure: Thanks to CVS/Minute Clinic for sponsoring today’s post.

Back to School Health Needs? MinuteClinic Has You Covered.

Two weeks from today (eek!) the kids will go off to school for the start of another school year. Where did the summer of Six and Nine go? It took forever to get here, and now it’s winding down.

As we get ready to for back to school, I’m glad the ages of six and nine don’t require any immunizations- fitting those in with everything thing else back to school brings is never easy. Last year, the boy went to kindergarten one immunization short, and I got weekly notes from the school nurse until I (well, BgK) got it taken care of. Little did I know, the MinuteClinic (inside CVS), which we pass two times a day en route to school, could have taken care of that for us. For real. Had we only known. 

We’re in the clear for a couple more years, because in Indiana, it seems that sixth grade is the next “big shot” year. I won’t tell the kids if you won’t. As much as it’s a pain (literally and figuratively for all involved), I know it’s important to vaccinate. Do you know who the biggest pro-immunization person I know is? My grandma. At nearly 101, it was her friends and siblings who fell ill (sometimes fatally) with diseases that are now vaccine preventable. It comes up in conversations with her, oddly enough, more often than you might think. She remembers quarantine signs and the terror that came with disease outbreaks. It’s amazing that now my family can get all the immunizations needed at our local pharmacy.

ChalkboardCollageCVSKeep the MinuteClinic in mind as you see what immunizations your child may need to start school- no appointment is necessary and most insurance is accepted. MinuteClinics are also open seven days a week, which can come in handy when trying to fit in medical needs with everything else. The other thing I really like about the MinuteClinic is the price sheet. I know it’s unheard of, but they actually have, available online, a price sheet for their services. Even if you’re submitting to insurance, this handy price sheet can give you an idea of what kind of bill you’ll be looking at. Also accessible through their website is a list of which immunizations are required by state. Handy, right?

Other services offered at the MinuteClinic near you (chances are, there’s one near you- there are 5 of them within 5 miles of my house) include:

Right now, any visit to the MinuteClinic will net you a coupon book worth $22 in savings. MinuteClinic will be hosting a Twitter Party on Monday, July 28th at 1pm filled with information to help all kids #GoBackHealthy. Join in the the discussion about back to school health & safety, and you could win some fun prizes.

Disclosure: Thanks for Minute Clinic for sponsoring today’s discussion.

Packed Lunch Ideas for the Rest of Us

Thanks to Fruitshoot for sponsoring this post.

We have passed 100 days of school, and we’ve gotten to the point where I’m now encouraging the children to buy lunch whenever they can. We’ve highlighted all of the possible entrees on the rotating menu, but most days, I’m packing at least one lunch.

It’s getting tricky- the girl has definite things I cannot pack because they are babyish. The boy has certain things I cannot pack, because quite frankly, more lands on his shirt  and all over his lunchbox instead of in his mouth.

When I do pack a “fun” lunch, with just the right amount of third grade maturity, I get big points. I also get big points when I find a drink they like to bring. Enter: Robinson’s Fruitshoot (we stick with the no sugar added varieties). Fruitshoot is a 10% juice drink that my kids love. With the 10.5 oz bottle, it’s a much better shot of hydration (why are schools such deserts?), and there’s no embarrassing preschool cartoon character on the package. Total bonus? There’s currently an Angry Birds download code on every bottle! You can learn more about Fruit Shoot and the Angry Birds promotion on Facebook.

Here’s a Kahuna Kids lunch with just a smidgen of pizzazz.

For the girl, cut outs of cheese are always a big hit, since cheese is her favorite food. Silicone baking cups in fun colors and shapes are an easy way to add a touch of fun, even when they don’t contain chocolate chips.


The boy is much simpler. Mostly, he just wants food, and if he can get a chuckle, so be it. For him, I like to make his initial out of pretzels or strips of cheese or dried fruit. It makes him very happy, and it’s oh-so-easy. The other thing that scores points with him are stickers- any old stickers will do. I try to keep a sheet near the lunch supplies so that I can jazz up packaged food every now and then. lunchnottitle

Again, adding a cool big-kid Fruitshoot makes him very happy! To learn more about Fruitshoot, visit their Facebook page. Available in select markets, it’s a great way to help kids stay hydrated.

Disclosure: Thanks to Fruitshoot for sponsoring this post. All adventures in healthy lunch packing, and opinions are my own.