An Apple A Day: No excuses for flu
In preparation for this piece, I spent a good deal of time trying to find a funny joke about the flu to share with you all. My intention behind this would be that I would make you laugh right away which would keep you reading. I could only find one and it was not very appropriate. It turns out the flu is not a joking matter. I’ve always been a big proponent of the flu vaccine. If a vaccine exists to help prevent me from a week or more of horrible illness—I will gladly spend the money (or use my insurance) and endure the small prick of a needle to keep those around me (and me) safe. It’s a no brainer in my book!
However, in my quest to promote vaccination on our campus I have heard every excuse possible. In the next 350 words I am going to do my best to counter your top arguments and hopefully convince you why it’s still a good idea. Wish me luck.
Excuse one: “I don’t need a flu shot because the flu isn’t so bad.”
Counter: The flu is highly contagious and can lead to more serious illness such as pneumonia. While people with chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes, those who are young/elderly or pregnant, are at higher risk for serious complications, but young and healthy people can still wind up hospitalized due to severe dehydration or other issues related to flu symptoms.
Excuse two: “I got a flu shot once and got sick anyway.”
Counter: The flu shot (non-nasal spray vaccine) contains strains of the virus that are inactivated (dead) so it cannot give you the flu. There are a few reasons why you may have gotten sick. It’s possible that you could have been exposed to the flu prior to your body having had enough time to create the anti-bodies—this process usually takes two weeks. This is why it’s important to get your shot early—before you are likely to be exposed. You could have also been exposed to a traditional cold virus. The vaccine will protect against the flu but not the common cold. People love to say they have the flu when they really just have a cold.
Excuse three: “I hate shots, ” or “I’m afraid of needles.”
Counter: The very minor and quick pinch is way worth it when you compare the milliseconds of pain to the possible week’s worth of fever, body aches and respiratory symptoms. If you really feel that strongly, I promise I will hold your hand and give you a lollipop after.
Excuse four: “It’s too late in the season to get a shot.”
Counter: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still reporting widespread flu activity in our area. In fact, we are having students test positive right on campus. It’s possible for the flu season to extend into the late spring.
If you still won’t do it for you, then do it for grandma or your toddler nephew, or your current hook up. Would you want any of those people getting sick? I think not. No more excuses—get a flu vaccine. I hear the health center right on campus gives flu shots to students, faculty and staff on a walk in basis.