Man Up




Get a
Flu Shot

The call gets a little louder every year. The weather turns cold and we're all reminded to get a flu shot—from our doctors, the television and those overeager coworkers who swear by them. Each year a new, targeted vaccine is made to protect against the strains that experts predict will be the most common in the coming flu season. It doesn’t guarantee complete immunity, but it's the best defense against the virus and will result in much milder symptoms if you do get sick. While it's easier than ever to get a flu shot, more than half of American men still don't. After all, when you're young, healthy and male, the flu isn't a big concern, right? But if you work in a large office, take public transportation or find yourself setting your phone on random tables when out, you should definitely consider getting a flu shot. And here's why.

You Don't Want the Flu

According to Dr. William Schaffner, chair of Vanderbilt University's Dept. of Preventive Medicine, thousands die in the US every year from the flu and its complications. Hundreds of thousands more are hospitalized and millions take sick days due to influenza. He says the virus can easily send a healthy man to the emergency room within 48 hours after exposure. Why tough it out when the pain and suffering is preventable?

It's Everywhere (and It's Cheap)

You don't have to make a doctor's appointment. Just head down to your local Walgreens, CVS or other pharmacies that administer the vaccine. Most insurance plans cover them entirely, but even if you were to pay completely out of pocket, the cost would be no more than $20. Get it done early (before the flu season peaks in January) and you won't have to wait in line. Go to to find your nearest vaccine location.

It Doesn't Have to be a Shot

There are now two types of vaccines from which you can choose. There's the traditional shot made with inactivated flu virus that's administered by a needle and a newer nasal spray that's completely painless. The spray is made with a weakened live flu virus and is approved for healthy individuals between the ages of 2 and 49.

You Won't Get Sick from It

We've all heard the horror stories from people claiming to have gotten sick from the shot, but the fact is you cannot get the flu from the shot or the nasal spray. But it does take up to two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the influenza virus. So if you're infected during that time, you might think you got it from the vaccine. Which is why it's better to get vaccinated in the fall, before the flu season really gets under way.


Wash Your Hands

Manners aside, making sure that you're washing your hands regularly (and correctly) will ensure you escape cold and flu season unscathed.