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Get a Flu Shot: Protect Yourself, Protect Others

November 13, 2007

Flu season is upon us.  The holidays are upon us.  Please get a flu vaccine.

The CDC recommends flu shots for high risk individuals and their care providers.  However, they also recommend it for anyone who wants to lower their risk of getting the flu.  Not only will you protect your personal health, but you’ll reduce the chance of passing the virus to others, important during the holiday season when you are visiting friends and relatives, especially grandparents and new arrivals.

Each year I encourage my nearest and dearest to get vaccinated, and each year I hear a multitude of excuses.  But I have yet to hear one that makes me even consider NOT getting vaccinated.  Here are some of my “favorites.”

I don’t like needles.  There is a nasal spray vaccine available called FluMist® which healthy persons between 2-49 can get.  No needles.

I’ve never gotten the flu, so I won’t this year.   Is that a risk you’re willing to take?  Getting the flu can easily place you out of commission for 1-2 weeks.  While some people may be able to handle that, most people I know would fall incredibly behind if they missed 2 weeks of classes and work.  Yet still those same people take their chances with flu.

I don’t want to spend the money.  Flu vaccine isn’t very expensive.   Many health departments offer reduced prices for high risk or lower income individuals.  Call your local health department to find out where the cheapest vaccines are offered.

I don’t want to get sick from the vaccine.  The flu shot uses dead virus, so you can’t get the flu from the vaccine.  However, the nasal spray does use a weakened live virus, but the CDC says the virus used will not cause the flu.

I’m healthy, I can handle the flu.  That may be true, but getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects those around you.  This includes your friends and family, which may include people that are elderly, ill, or young children, all of whom should be protected from exposure to flu due to an increased risk of complications.  Not only that, but there are multiple variants of the flu that circulate each season, so getting the flu once is not protection against catching another version later.  The flu shot includes this season’s most common variants for maximum protection.

I’m vegan and the flu vaccine is grown using chicken eggs.  I support the choice to be vegan, but I have a hard time justifying risking your health over this statement.  Especially if you are high risk, and especially if you are coming into contact with people who are high risk.  Even if you are vegan, please strongly consider getting vaccinated.

I don’t want to use up a vaccine that could go to a high risk person instead.  In the recent past there have been years of flu vaccine shortage.  During those times there were limits imposed on who could receive the vaccine to ensure that all high risk people were vaccinated first.  However, most years there is not a shortage, and extra vaccine must be discarded at the end of the season.  Flu vaccine is specially created for each year, so use it or lose it.

Do you get a flu shot?  What are your favorite reasons for getting one?

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