Along with numerous late-summer promptings to buy back-to-school supplies was the quieter message that getting a flu shot should be on the list of things to do.
The vaccine has been available locally in various places since August. Knowing that, there is no reason to wait to get your flu shots. They last a year.
Flu season typically runs from October to May, with the body needing a couple of weeks to build up antibodies after receiving an immunization.
Every year health officials do their best to convince members of the public to get their flu shots before the flu season kicks in. And every year some members of the public ignore the plea.
If you’re one of those people, consider this: Protect those who can’t protect themselves by not passing along the virus to them.
You may think it’s OK to take your chances of getting sick because you bounce back fast from illness, but that’s not the case with everyone. Babies can’t be vaccinated until they are 6 months old. People with immune suppression disorders can’t be vaccinated. Those who have vaccine allergies can’t be immunized. (Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg should receive the flu vaccine.)
As with any communicable disease, not just the flu, it can be passed along to other people, multiplying the cases of illness. The more people vaccinated, the better the chances of protecting more of the population.
The CDC urges most people to get a flu shot with few exceptions. Some people are wary because they don’t like shots or have felt under the weather after getting one. Those excuses pale in comparison to suffering the effects of the full-blown flu. Cases of flu can lead to hospitalization and even death.
And if that doesn’t concern you enough to protect yourself, then do it for everyone else instead.