What are the benefits of a flu vaccination? A flu shot can keep you from getting sick with the flu and reduce the chances of you being out of work, like eight New England Patriots players who missed practice just before Thanksgiving due to flu-like symptoms. Devin McCourty said he hasn't seen anything like this in his 10 years with the team.

Key starters like safety Patrick Chung, linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, Sr., cornerback Stephon Gilmore and left tackle Isaiah Wynn were among the eight players who missed practice. A ninth player, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, was limited in practice due to illness. Cannon played through illness in last Sunday's 13-9 rain-soaked, windy win over Dallas, an effort that coach Bill Belichick acknowledged after the game as one of the most impressive things he's seen.

Belichick stressed to his players the importance of staying germ-free during the flu season and doing whatever is possible to be healthy. To me, that would include getting a flu vaccination. It's the best thing you can do to protect your family, or team, during the flu season, which is now through March.

It takes around two weeks for the vaccine to take effect and offer full flu protection. By that time, the Patriots will be in Cincinnati playing the Bengals. So go and get a flu vaccination for the Patriots or for the Gipper. Protection from illness is very important, and no one wants to get sick during the holidays – or the Super Bowl.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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