Flu Season is Upon Us

Every year I recommend my patients receive the flu shot.  Every year the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends everyone receive a flu shot.  I hear many reasons why people do NOT receive the immunization.  Among them are “it made me sick”, “I have never received the flu shot”, “I have never gotten the flu” etc.  It used to be that if you were allergic to eggs, you were not encouraged to receive the flu shot.  That has changed, and now everyone, even those with an egg allergy are strongly encouraged to receive the flu shot.  There are many reasons “why I don’t” but let me cover a few reasons “why you Should”.

Your child, your grandchild, your father, mother, sister, brother, grandma, grandpa, neighbor, priest, teacher, classmate etc.

Each person is a transport vehicle for the flu virus to another.  How each person responds to the flu virus can vary for many reasons: How old they are? Do they have a completely functioning immune system? Do they have an underlying health condition such as asthma, diabetes, COPD or heart failure?   Can you answer any of these questions by looking at someone on the street?  Or in the grocery isle?  In the pew next to you?  How about sitting at the table next to you in a restaurant?  The answer to all of these is “no”.

According to the CDC, since flu-associated deaths in children became a nationally notifiable condition in 2004, the total number of flu-associated deaths among children during one season has ranged from 37 (during the 2011-2012 season) to 180 (during the 2017-18 season, as of August 11); this excludes the 2009 pandemic, when 358 pediatric deaths from April 15, 2009 through October 2, 2010 were reported to CDC.

Adult deaths are harder to trace unless the death certificates specifically state “influenza” which is rare and more likely to state “respiratory failure”.

The Flu immunization (shot) are not specifically meant to prevent you from getting “the flu”.  The “flu shot” IS meant to help you survive getting the flu and help to prevent the spread of the influenza virus to those who are more susceptible to dying from the flu as mentioned above.

We all have loved ones that have health conditions.  It is our responsibility to help them stay as healthy as they can be.  PLEASE get the flu shot.  It is the single most important thing that you can do during the flu season to help prevent the spread of the virus. None of us want to be the reason a loved one may pass away.