Get Your Flu Shot!

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Don’t let this happen to you! (courtesy of Tumblr)

Although I sometimes get the flu even after receiving my annual flu shot, I do it anyway because prevention is the best medicine. And since the flu shot has been around so long, research has shown its effectiveness and doctors recommend it, I always get mine.

My wife doesn’t feel the same way.

To her, the flu shot is just another scam perpetrated on the American people by a money-grubbing medical establishment that is determined to screw us at every turn. And believe me, it’s taken a lot of effort to convince her that our 5-year-old son should get his shot, too.

I suppose my wife could be right, but doctors continue to recommend that everyone have a flu shot, especially those who are younger and relatively healthy. There can obviously be some complications where the elderly are concerned.

If you don’t adhere to the same conspiracy theory as my wife, then you should know that flu shots can help. I’m not just saying this, though. There is plenty of evidence to support it and to quell all the rumors floating around out there by others who refuse to get one.

For instance, a lot of people you talk to who are dead-set against flu shots will tell you that they can cause you to catch the flu, albeit it a more moderate version. This is patently false according to Dr. Bill Schaffner of Vanderbilt University‘s School of Medicine.

“If you did get the vaccine but still came down with the flu, you might wonder if the vaccine caused the illness,” Schaffner said recently. “It did not.”

In fact, this year’s flu shot is the most important step you can take in preventing the illness and avoiding the epidemic that continues to spread across our great nation. It’s not perfect, mind you, but it is better than nothing.

This year’s vaccine was created from three different strains of the influenza virus: influenza B and two types of influenza A (H3N2 and H1N1). I’m sure we all remember the health scare that H1N1 caused several years ago.

This is not a good look for anyone!

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that the current vaccine protects best against the most common form of the virus, influenza A, and has a success rate over 99%. In terms of H1N1, the rate rises to 100%. That should be evidence enough that flu shots are worth the trouble, but there’s more.

Protection against the influenza B strain isn’t nearly as high, with the success rate hovering around 68%. Fortunately, this strain is less common and as of last month, it represented only 20% of all known flu cases.

So I guess the answer to the question “Can I still catch the flu after getting the shot?” is yes. It is still possible, but the odds are much better if you had the shot and started developing the necessary antibodies.

“Influenza is going to be with us into February and even beyond. If you haven’t been vaccinated, please, take advantage of the benefits of influenza vaccine,” Schaffner continued. “Run, do not walk — get the vaccine. Protect yourself and everyone around you.”

That’s good enough for me and I hope it is for you, too. Please give serious thought to getting your flu shot soon and remember to take other precautions, like washing your hands frequently and avoiding anyone with symptoms who starts hacking and snotting all over the place.

Otherwise, you may want to start stockpiling Thera-Flu and Kleenex because it could be a long winter!

Posted on January 12, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Please tell your wife that the flu has been a big problem this year. There has been 18 deaths of children under the age of 18. Children, the elderly, and others with compromised immune systems should absolutely have a flu shot. It is mandatory for the residential kids at the school I teach at. The flu is serious business.

  2. I fall more into your wife’s category…..eek. I am not fanatical about it but I do have many serious doubts about the vaccine. I also find it depends who is publishing the studies, I have read just as many that state the ineffectiveness. I am far from trying to dissuade you in any way as I believe each to their own and we all have our reasons and beliefs. What I find more interesting is the way media portrays their agendas depending what side they are on. I have seen studies from “legitimate” organizations, some praising the vaccines and others calling them the devil pretty much….so who do you believe…..?

    • That’s a good question, Kara. And I have no idea what the truth is, but “better safe than sorry” works for me. 🙂

      Good to see you here, Kara. Welcome home!

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