Just a quick post this week since I’m enjoying a vacation and mostly staying off the ‘net.
Flu shots are available now, so I just wanted to take the opportunity to stress their importance. Sure, for the average healthy person influenza usually isn’t life-threatening (though H1N1, which is still around, can be in rare cases, and was worse than some people seem to think it was as I talked about last spring), but it still knocks you down for a few days. If you think the flu is an upset stomache or a bit of a cough, you haven’t had it.
The main reason it’s important even for healthy people to get it is to protect others. I have a grandma in her 90’s and a 4-month old daughter; in the case of my grandma the vaccine is at best moderately effective, and my daughter is too young to get it. So by getting the vaccine myself, I’m helping to protect them, and other susceptible people I may come into contact with. This only works if most people in contact with them are vaccinated. It’s particularly important for children to be vaccinated, since they’re the most common transmission vector for influenza.
Modern flu vaccines are very safe (unless you are allergic to eggs), and highly effective for the strains included in the shot. Even for a healthy person, the risk vs. benefit is strongly in favour of getting the shot. So please get your flu shot – if not for yourself, then for those around you.