The Journal Gazette
Friday, December 18, 2020 1:00 am


Benefit of shopping: Exercise, flu shot

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Most women are familiar with the phrase “retail therapy,” suggesting shopping is good for our mental health.

It can be good for physical health, too, getting in those steps going aisle to aisle.

By working remotely because of the pandemic, it's been a challenge many days for me to hit my 10,000-step goal – even if I spend an hour or more at the YMCA. So occasional masked-up visits to pick up items at stores in the evening help boost my count.

And on a visit to Walmart on the first Saturday of this month, I reaped another related health benefit: I finally got my flu shot.

I went in search of a few more items for a small, artificial 6-foot tree I bought on somewhat of a whim at Meijer the night before. I noticed a sign on an easel promoting flu shots – even on Saturdays. All I needed to do was scan a bar code with my phone camera to get to an online site with a basic patient information form. In less than five minutes, after checking in, I was sitting in a partitioned area waiting for the Walmart pharmacist.

He asked about my using the bar code scan process and noted I was one of few who had.

I told him Saturday was the first time I noticed the sign, even though they are posted at both main entrances at the Coldwater Road location I frequent most.

Most public health advocates have been encouraging people to get the flu shot for more than two months to avoid risking what has been called a “twindemic” of influenza and COVID-19, which most definitely would further strain the health care system.

In early fall, I began seeing signage about free flu shots at Meijer, so getting the shot had periodically been on my mind. Dec. 5 was the latest I've ever gotten it.

The Walmart pharmacist asked whether I was current on other immunizations, including for shingles and tetanus. I suggested I would probably wait until I saw my regular physician, but the pharmacist said some medical providers don't always have adequate stock of the shingles vaccine. Once I had him check on insurance coverage and he confirmed the shingles shot was also 100% covered, I agreed to go ahead with that, too.

I learned it's a two-dose process for the shingles vaccination, so I'll get a follow-up email sometime within the next two to six months, the pharmacist said.

The tetanus shot? Well, that vaccination will wait.

Two shots in the same arm in one day is enough for me.

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