Flu season is nigh upon us and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is warning us that this season could be especially virulent. Australia, which is always a day ahead of us, has suffered though a pretty rough flu season over the last few months. Their summer experience has long made for a reliable forecast of our impending winter flu season. The CDC recommends that everyone (6 months and older) get their flu shot this month, before the flu season ramps up. This year’s trivalent influenza vaccine contains Michigan, Hong Kong and Brisbane strains of the virus, making for a truly international cocktail. Patients presenting flu-like symptoms have already reported in most states. If you have health insurance, vaccination is free. If you don’t, it is still inexpensive and getting one would likely save you money in the long run. Anne and I both got ours as walk-ups through the local grocery’s pharmacy.
The excuse, “I don’t need a vaccine, because I never get the flu”, does not wash anymore. Your immune system may be strong enough that you rarely get the flu and when you do succumb, your symptoms are mild enough to be dismissed as just a cold, but that does not mean that you never get the flu. Uninoculated you are a menace to society, acting as a vector to spread disease and endangering the lives of the elderly, very young and other citizens with less robust immune systems than yourself. Anti-vaxxers have long decried that no vaccine is 100% effective, but it has been proven time and time again that a comprehensive vaccination program does prevent disease and saves people’s lives. Do the right thing, if not for yourself, then for those around you. Don’t be a baby, do your civic duty and go get your shot. You’ll feel better about yourself afterwards.