Take Your Flu Shot

I have just spent a week nursing my family through an onset of the flu. High fever. Bucketfuls of snotty bog roll. Headaches. Stomach aches. Rattling coughs. Shoving innumerable paracetamol suppositories where the sun don’t shine. But I was unscathed myself. Dear Reader, come autumn, do what I did and take your flu shot.

I have sometimes met with incredulity, even opposition, from the district nurse when I’ve popped down for my annual vaccination. “You’re a strong healthy young(ish) man, you don’t need a flu shot!” Indeed. I do not need a flu shot to survive. But it costs only $20, takes only a few minutes and is virtually painless. While the flu costs a week of lost work during which you feel like one of the restless dead. I’d count myself stupid if I didn’t take my shot. They aren’t always effective, as it’s hard to foresee which virus strain will make up a year’s epidemic, but that shot improves your chances of evading the scourge hugely. Don’t listen to the antivax kooks?. Vaccines are science-based medicine at its finest.

Comments

  1. #1 catgirl
    January 12, 2009

    Several years ago, I worked for a company that offered free flu shots. Even though they paid for the shots, they saved money by not having to pay as much sick leave. Now I work at a different company, so I pay for a flu shot every year. I agree with you that it is worth it for myself, but I also feel like I am protecting other people who I might have otherwise passed it on to.

  2. #2 Felicia Gilljam
    January 12, 2009

    “You’re a strong healthy young(ish) man, you don’t need a flu shot!”

    You’re also a man with a family with small children and presumably have a social life. Surely this has an impact? For me, flu’s not even on the radar…

  3. #3 DianaGainer
    January 12, 2009

    Around these parts, it’s like pulling teeth to convince someone to give me that flu shot each year. It’s practically like begging, even though I pay for it myself. My doctor won’t do it, refuses to take in enough for anyone but the frailest, most elderly of his patients; the public health clinic requires proof of some chronic, debilitating condition; the local pharmacy may or may not offer it on a first-come, first-served basis on one or two unadvertised dates which one has to guess at; and my husband’s employer will give him a free shot but will not do the same for the worthless dependents at home. It’s always an adventure to see whether I’ll manage to get a flu shot, even in those years when the U.S. public health service advises everyone to do so. But then, this is Texas.

  4. #4 Gmonkey
    January 12, 2009

    Our entire University community is encouraged to get the flu shot. In fact, there are walk-in flu shot stations all around campus for several weeks every year where students and staff can get free shots. Every Walgreen’s pharmacy in Chicago has a nurse available certain days a week to administer the shots.

  5. #5 megan
    January 12, 2009

    dare i ask what a paracetamol suppository does? i have never suppositoried anything.

  6. #6 Martin R
    January 13, 2009

    A paracetamol suppository is the only way short of an IV drip to bring down the fever of a sleeping or delirious child. They can’t or won’t take a pill or a draught of the stuff. There are few things worse than being unable to help your kids when they are burning up with fever!

  7. #7 Ingvar
    January 13, 2009

    Now, now, Martin, an ice bath brings down the body temperature rather well. I don’t doubt that a paracetamol suppository is a safer way to do it, though.

  8. #8 Chrissl
    January 14, 2009

    My HMO (health plan) encourages *everyone* to get flu shots, including kids. (They get a half sized dose.) This is California, though, not Texas ;(

  9. #9 christina
    January 15, 2009

    I agree with you on the blessings of the flu shot completely! Only wish they’d give it to children as well.(esp. as they are some of the worst flu-sources spending all day trading snot and saliva at day-care/kindergarden)

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