Did You And Your Au Pair Get Your Flu Shots?

by cv harquail on October 29, 2012

Some folks seem to love to prepare for emergencies.

Here in the New York Metro area folks are darting around getting water, batteries, and in my case lots of chocolate, so that they’ll be ready for whatever Hurricane Sandy as in store for us. You can’t believe the lines at the supermarket.

This morning there was also a long line at the pharmacy, where Senior Citizens were getting free flu shots.

Gotta love those older, wiser Americans. They recognize that the flu can be devastating to their health, and that a little prevention — like a flu vaccine-– goes a long way.

Get Your Au Pair a Flu Shot

Every year around this time we have a post about getting your Au Pair a flu shot. We’ve discussed what we can and can’t ask them to do, how to make it easy, how to be a role model by getting our own flu shots, and most importantntly we’ve discussed WHY we should all get flu shots. The flu can kill people — little people like children, grown up people like Senoirs, and even strong healthy dudes like by DH.

Everyday Health send AuPairMom the infographic, below, to help encourage us all to get flu shots.

We’ve also got posts from previous years, with everyone’s comments to consider:

3 Reasons to Take Your Au Pair for a Flu Shot
You and the Flu
Flu Shots for Your Au Pair: Polls
My Au Pair Won’t Get a Flu Shot … and we have an Infant. Now what?

Go get your flu shot

Take your Au Pair to Target, CVS, Walgreens, your local health clinic, wherever, to get her or him a flu shot.

Influenza is one of those threats that we can actually prepare for and even prevent. Plus, as you all know, you get to go out for ice cream after getting a shot. So go do it.

Tips from EveryDay Health on Minimizing Germs At Home:

  • Know the duration of colds. If someone in your home gets a cold or flu virus, you should know that they can shelter the virus for one day before getting sick and for up to seven days after getting sick. During that time, designate a special part of the house for the sick person, such as an extra bedroom or the comfiest couch in the living room, to keep them from contaminating other parts of the house.
  • Beware of sharing. Don’t share cups, glasses, plates, and utensils that can pass germs from one family member to another. Clean everything in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher. Don’t leave anything lying around the house.
  • Clean surfaces. Wipe down surfaces with a clean, disposable paper towel instead of a sponge, and then throw out the towel. Pay special attention to bedside tables, bathroom counters, faucet handles, and kitchen counters. Read labels on cleaning products. To use the word “sanitize” a product must kill more than 99 percent of specified bacteria within 30 seconds.
  • Keep plenty of tissues available around the house. Teach your children to use tissues for sneezing, coughing, and nose blowing. Make sure tissues are thrown out directly into the trash after using them.
  • Teach kids proper hand-washing. Make sure your bathrooms have soap. Wash hands in soapy water for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Between washings, avoid touching your hands to your face. Set out paper towels instead of cloth towels for hand-drying in your kitchen and bathrooms.
  •  Offer hand sanitizers. Distribute hand sanitizers around the house. Make sure your hand sanitizer contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Spray the hand sanitizer into the hands and rub hands together until they are dry.



Emerald City Host Mom October 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm

To us it was more importnat this year to have an au pair willing to get both the pertussis booster and flu vaccine. I’m due in 3 weeks and pertussis is epidemic in WA. With a newborn in the house during flu season, we also wnated everyone to have that vaccine, even our 18 month old has it.

All in our family are up to date on pertussis and DH and I are getting the flu shots tomorrow.

I am disappointed that the “health insurance” our au pair has specifically excludes vaccine side effects, but it is that important to us that we would cover medical bills if that happened and the claim was rejected.

PA AP Mom October 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm

My health system that I work for offers flu vaccines for all healthcare workers and their family members, which includes our au pair. They are free of charge.

Our AP isn’t crazy about getting a flu shot because she’s never had one, but she agreed to do so before matching. She and the kids are getting them on Friday. DH and I have already had them.

We ask all our APs before matching if they are agreeable to flu shots yearly. If they say “no”, we move on to another candidate.

PA AP Mom October 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm

We also let the AP and each of the kids pick out a large bottle of alcohol-based sanitizer in the scent of their choice. We encourage it’s frequent use during cold and flu season. They love going to Bath and Body Works to pick out their scents! Adds a little bit of fun to being healthy.

HRHM October 30, 2012 at 7:46 am

It’s important to note that the nasal delivery is known to be more effective than the shot. Although more people will find that they have some symptoms (mild congestion, sore throat, etc) after the flumist, it is rarely a full-blown sickness and you get to avoid being stuck ( a big plus to my kids).

Taking a Computer Lunch October 30, 2012 at 11:10 am

Everyone in our home has to have the flu shot. We live with a child on replacement steroids for a medical condition that puts her at a higher-than-average risk for illness. For a long time our pediatrician insisted that everyone in the family get the shot, since the nasal flu mist has partially live virus. However, she realized that she couldn’t control everyone with whom our child came into contact, so she relaxed that rule. DH and I get the shot, and we ask that our AP does too, since we handle her the most in the household. My son prefers the mist.

We reimburse the AP 100% of the costs. We tell our APs that we will reimburse their medical expenses when the kids make them sick – in most years it was strep throat (thank goodness for pharmacy minute-clinics). Now that the kids are older, they rarely get anything other than viruses that don’t require medical attention. In fact, our APs are likely to burn the candle at both ends and make themselves sick.

kat October 30, 2012 at 7:19 pm

is it a ‘done thing’ in the us , to have a flu jab?
i personally would never have one and would refuse a job that would ask me to have it.

Newhostmom October 30, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Kat – I think it varies by family. News articles have said recently that one third of Americans get a flu shot each year, so by not getting one you would be in the majority. We are a family that doesn’t get them and wouldn’t ask an au pair to either, but I 100% understand families that require them too. An easy thing to clear up in matching, I would think.

kat October 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Yes,I suppose once you know it is one of the issues you want to discuss :)

europair October 31, 2012 at 7:20 am

Excuse-me, Kat, but… why would you refuse a flu shot? You’d benefit from this. There’re no damage, no detriment to your health.

kat October 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm

because a) i dont think they are effective (for a healthy young person anyway) b) i am not putting even more chemicals into my body that might cause harm in the long run

HRHM October 31, 2012 at 8:48 am

We are a “must get” family. DH and I are both military so it’s a job requirement for us. In addition, being a doctor and working in a hospital, I am constantly exposed to sick people and as careful as I am, probably transport some yuck home with me on a regular basis, so it makes sense for me to want everyone at home to get it. It is also recommended for all who work in healthcare, nursing homes, schools and childcare (APs!!) so we are clear in the interview that we only would hire an AP who would be ok with it. We do pay for it, BTW.

Emerald City Host Mom November 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

Like I said above, this year it is especially important to us because we will have a newborn in the house. Our newborn can’t get vaccinated and has to rely on herd immunity for this year (with us being the herd :) ). Once our kids are able to be vaccinated on their own or reach an age where we feel it’s not as much as a risk, we probably won’t care if our au pair gets vaccinated or not.

Some host families have different reasons, but yes, this should be clear right away since everyone is entitled to their own health choices.

Mailys October 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Hi, I’m a former au pair.
Around that time of the year, everybody in my host family went to get a flu shot and i refused to get one as well. Simply because i do not believe they are effective and because i consider they can harm yourself as well (and my doctor does not recommand it at all).
My host family did not say anything and i’ve seen that they were upset about it. I thought about it for a couple of weeks and one afternoon i just went to a doctor office and did it.
The reason why is that if anything related to flu would happen to the children i wanted to make sure it would not be because of me (although i do not think it is anygood), not sure i see what i mean :)
I paid for it, never asked to be refunded and my host parents never offered either.

I came back to France and never did it again, here noone really does it.

spanishaupair November 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I would not get a flu shot if not necessary,i think is something very american, because in Spain you only get flu shots if you are elder or in risk, if not is very difficult to get one.
I dont see the need of taking a flu shot if you or someone near is in the risk group. But if i really like the family and is a requirement i will accept it if they pay for the shot if is not included in the insurance

vdotw November 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm

My husband, as a military service member, must get his shot every year, and we get them for the kids. I am the only one who doesn’t, as all three times I’ve had one, I vomit and get a rash. I’ll offer to pay for one for our AP, but won’t require it, as on one in our family is in a high risk group. It’s a good preventative measure, but the flu shot isn’t as effective as many other vaccines. Think about your family, their health and habits, and discuss it with your AP from there. If I had infants, I would require and pay for my AP’s shot.

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