Well, it’s official.  The flu is now spread across all 50 states, and by all accounts, this year’s flu season is turning out to be a bad one.  Despite the overwhelming numbers of people that have become sick with this virus, I still can’t convince some folks to get a flu shot!  Reasons vary depending on the individual, and I have heard everything from “It doesn’t work for me” to “I hate needles” and my all time favorite “I get the flu every year that I get the flu shot- it’s pointless!”.  Please allow me to review some reasons that the flu shot would be a good idea for you:

1.  You love your relatives and friends.  While you may decide that you are immune to the flu or don’t believe in vaccines or would rather suffer with it, take a moment to consider those people in your life (and I’m sure that there are some!) who do not have your immune capacity.  This includes all children (especially under the age of 5), pregnant women, and people 65 years and older.  Surely you must know someone in the categories listed above?  If so, your lack of vaccination means that you are quite possibly carrying and spreading those germs to people who cannot recover from them the way you can.  What may be a simple flu to you could land a baby or a pregnant woman in the ICU fighting for their lives.  There are people nationwide who have lost that battle this year.  Don’t let your relatives and friends be part of that statistic.

2.  You don’t have to miss work to get this vaccine.  People tell me that they are busy working and don’t have the time to go to the doctor for a flu shot.  Good news!  You can get this vaccine at practically every street corner in America.  Most drugstores (Walgreens, CVS, Osco, Target, Costco, etc.) have care clinics that house health care personnel that can vaccinate you.  These pharmacies are open late into the evening hours and they all accept medical insurance, so stop by after work and get a flu shot.  If you don’t have health insurance, the vaccine costs about $20.  That’s not a bad deal, considering how much the cold medicine to treat the flu would end up costing you (and not to mention how much work you would have to miss if you’re home with the flu).

3.  This year’s vaccine is a pretty good match for the flu virus.  Every year, scientists develop the flu vaccine based on what strains of influenza they think will be prevalent that flu season.  Some years have a better match than others.  This year’s flu vaccine is spot on!  The flu shot will reduce your chances of getting influenza by 60-80%, and if you do get the flu, it will likely be a less severe case.

So stop taking chances with your own health, not to mention the health of those surrounding you.  Get your flu shot.  You will be glad that you did.