Get vaccinated. Ask your healthcare professional about getting a yearly influenza vaccine and a one-time pneumococcal vaccine (to guard against the most common form of bacterial pneumonia). Both vaccines are generally safe and seldom cause any severe reactions. It's much riskier not to have them. You might have some pain or swelling at the site of the shot (on the arm), but this will go away after a few days.
Other tips for staying well:
- As much as possible, avoid anyone who has a cold or the flu.
- Stay out of crowds during the height of flu season (usually October through March).
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
- Insist that all caregivers wash their hands thoroughly before approaching you.