Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a marked upping of the number of layers I’m putting on before leaving home.  With my winter jacket and UGG boots on, I can’t help but feel… WINTER IS COMING. I don’t know what it is about winter that makes me hyper aware of everything associated with the season (like bone-chilling walks that seem to take three times longer than usual) but I’ve especially started zoning in on all the flu shot posters that have recently been posted up around campus.  The fact that flu shots are free and that clinics are widely available throughout the city gives me really no excuse to not get the flu shot before winter really sets in. Except, there is one thing: I hate needles. I cry like a baby every time I have to get a shot and I avoid getting shots like the plague! image A little bit of a problem, I know. On the one hand, I know the flu vaccine will protect me for the season (Oct –May) and getting it earlier would be better because it takes about two weeks to provide full protection.  And, I know it will help protect me against the three strains of influenza viruses that are expected to circulate this year.   Moreover, flu shots are available right here on campus, making it super convenient!  But… I’m still struggling over how to reconcile my fear of needles with being proactive about my health.  It’s easier said than done to just “suck it up.”  In talking to someone about my issue, I was directed to a webpage that had some great tips for ways to make shots as painless as possible.  For example, there are cooling sprays or anesthetic creams that can numb the skin before the shot.  I’m gonna look into these suggestions.  Of course, bringing a friend for some moral support can’t hurt either! Health Services has a Flu Clinic for students from November 5th to December 13th.  Even though it’s by appointment only, it’s still convenient.  Of course, it’s also free – all you need to bring is your Health Card and TCard* (a friend is optional but highly recommended!).  I plan to make an appointment soon, especially now that I’m armed with some really great suggestions. And although getting vaccinated doesn’t mean I’m guaranteed to be sick-proof for the upcoming winter, getting a flu shot really is something I can do to take care of myself and be ready to meet winter head on. Is anyone else debating whether or not to get a flu shot?  If so, what’s holding you back? - Vivian * Students with Quebec Provincial Health Care Coverage will be required to pay $10.00.

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