(133) Got Flu, Forgot Shot?

Miss Molly profileGolly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)


Molly's nose

A doggy sinus condition can be a real bugger!

Have you ever experienced the sneeze of a Saint Bernard? When Molly gets sick, the room gets doused in . . . well, you get the picture. Lately, she sneezes after every outdoor trip. I know she does not suffer from the flu but sometimes she acts like it with sore muscles, fatigue, sneezing, and watering nose and eyes. Likely, she suffers from allergies.

What about you? 

Did you suffer from the flu? Do you sleep with your mouth open just to breathe? Do you slobber or sneeze like a Saint Bernard? Have you gotten your flu shot? If you have not been immunized this year, don’t worry, as the VA offers Veterans in the VA Health Care System free flu shots. You can get your flu shot at any doctor’s appointment with the VA or call to make arrangements with your local VA facility for the shot. As an added bonus, the VA contracts with Walgreens for a free flu shot for Veterans until March 31, 2016.

To get your free flu shot from Walgreens, all you need to do is show up, show your VA identification card, and give Walgreen’s this code:

Use Group Code # 5933XBAYV

Walgreens automatically updates your VA medical record with the date of your immunization for a seamless service.

Of course, for those of you with private insurance, most plans offer free or reduced-cost immunizations.

Flu Shot Adverse

For years, I shied away from flu shots because the only years I ever had the flu were those years when I received the shot. During chemo, my doctors insisted I receive both annual flu shots and the pneumonia shot. I still refused the flu shot until one doctor explained that the immunization you get from shots is cumulative in your system, which means that the best defense against the flu is an annual immunization. Since I started receiving the injection annually, I am finding I no longer get the flu—it just took a few consecutive years of immunization.

Veterans endure enough challenges in life without adding to it with the flu. If you have not received your flu shot yet, please stop by the VA or your local Walgreens. If you are a caregiver or know a Veteran, who has not had his/her flu shot, please share this information.

Now, if only they had a shot for dog sneeze n’ slobber.

Post your Comments: 

Have you received your flu shot this year? If not, what are you waiting for? Please reply below. 

Photo credits: pculbrethgraft

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About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.