The flu season continues apace around my part of the country. I wrote about it about a week and a half ago, in particular how people don’t get their flu shots because they don’t think they need them, because they don’t think the flu is a serious disease. Two more stories illustrate this disconnect. For instance, here’s a story about three people in their 20s who died of the flu in Michigan. The key heart-wrenching passage is this:
Ashley McCormick was 23 years old when she died December 27.
“We were like, ‘This is the flu. How can this happen? It’s just the flu.’ I mean, everybody gets the flu and this doesn’t happen,” says Ashley’s mother, Patricia McCormick.
Ashley’s parents say she first started coming down with the flu symptoms December 21st. A trip to urgent care didn’t help and by the night of Christmas, Ashley’s symptoms were worse than ever.
Her father rushed her to the hospital but doctors couldn’t save her. She graduated from Rochester High School and wanted to be a teacher for special needs children. Her parents say she had no underlying health conditions and she did not get a flu shot.
Tragically mistaken myths like this are why people like Ashley McCormick don’t get flu shots. Everybody might get the flu at one time or another, but tragic cases like Ashley’s do happen often enough that it makes sense to get vaccinated. The same thing apparently drove Chris Wright, a mail carrier who was described as very healthy, to make the same ill-fated decision:
Chris Wright, a 41-year-old father of five, was very healthy according to family members. He died Sunday at Oakwood Southshore Medical Center in Trenton, Mich., but had also been treated at Mercy Memorial Hospital in Monroe.
“He always said, ‘I never get sick. I’m healthy as a horse,’ ” said his wife Susan. That is why he didn’t think it was necessary to get a flu shot, she added.
I don’t care how healthy you are. The flu can kill.