This time of the year, the flu seems to be running through families in much greater numbers. Just before flu season, we are all...

This time of the year, the flu seems to be running through families in much greater numbers. Just before flu season, we are all tasked with the decision of whether to get the flu shot. As a firefighter/paramedic, I always took the flu shot, which has continued in my work as a pastor. There have been years that I may have gotten a sinus infection right after the flu shot, but I have avoided the flu every year until now. It is hard to say where or with whom an outbreak begins. I believe that my family was exposed on Saturday or Sunday. My wife, my son and my grandson became symptomatic Monday. My wife took the flu shot on the same day that I did and tested positive on Tuesday. After a long night last night, I tested negative, but the doctor said that, since I had been around so many who had it, he was going to treat me. He said that the flu test shows a false negative in 5 percent of the population.

Once the flu hits, we all must do the best we can to stop it in its tracks. This has been a busier-than-usual time in our home this week. Keeping the flu from going through an entire family under the same roof is hard. Hand washing and constant hand sanitizing was the goal. They set up quarantine areas where my son and grandson could go, and the two who were well had their own areas too. Getting my 3-year-old granddaughter to understand was a challenge. Everyone was wearing a mask at one point or another. Thus far, my granddaughter and daughter-in-law have been spared.

The flu shot may not prevent you from getting the flu, but it is my understanding that the effects of the flu will be lessened for those who get the shot. When I first began to be symptomatic, it felt like the night after getting the flu shot. It was not until last night that I really felt bad, though I did show negative for the flu test. I will again say that for many years I did not get the flu, which I tie directly to getting the flu shot.

It is nearly impossible to prevent an outbreak of illness until after exposure has occurred. Once people begin to get sick, it is important to quarantine and use good hygiene techniques, especially hand washing, which does a lot to prevent outbreak beforehand.

It will be a miracle if my granddaughter and daughter-in-law do not get the flu, but it shows the effectiveness of isolating and preventing the spread of germs. I pray that you make it through this flu season unscathed, but if it hits, stay home, get well soon and do your part to prevent it from spreading.