For years and years ago, I wasn't thinking about getting the flu shot. As a reporter, I would gladly attend the photo ops of health professionals and the sleeve-lifting admins, reminding the public that it's now flu season – it's time to shoot! But it never seemed like a problem that affected me.
And in a way, it wasn't. Young people are less likely to experience the most dangerous effects of the flu. It's those in vulnerable populations who need their arrow – pregnant women, children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems – because those groups have a higher risk of complications.
I figured I'd take the chance.
What didn't quite sink in for me was that although I probably would have survived a period of influenza, I could not fully control who I was when I was sick. Can I make sure I don't touch the door buttons in my workplace; that I did not cough while standing on the path to the pharmacy; that I didn't give up the bacteria when I returned the book back to the library? Of course I couldn't.
The flu vaccine has not had the best PR in recent years mainly because scientists are not always perfect when it comes to choosing the influenza virus for inoculation. There is also a possibility that if you hit it you will still get the flu.
However, the health unit says it has value in the impact, even if that is the case. The flu is likely to be less stable and won't stay that long if you save it. And if you hit it and it prevents you from getting sick, you and everyone around you will be protected from illness that can have serious consequences for some.
This fall, a relative of mine, an otherwise healthy woman in her early 30s, got the flu not once, but twice. It made life miserable and it was without commission for the better part of two weeks with the last period. He stayed home and eliminated all interaction with the vulnerable population, but said it was so horrible – and he lost such precious time shaking and sweating in bed – that he wished to capture the blow the first day it was available.
The Halliburton, Cavart and Pink Ridge Health Unit said the flu was in our region. On Wednesday he had his first laboratory case confirmed.
This is the time to roll up your sleeve and get one for the team. Visit your local pharmacy or health care provider to get a photo or answer your flu vaccine questions this year.