Oh, Go Get a Fucking Flu Shot Already!

Illustration for article titled Oh, Go Get a Fucking Flu Shot Already!

Hey, dum-dums! It's flu time again! Epidemic o'clock! Let's all get shots and not die and not kill the elderly and infect delicate babies with our germs, shall we? Yes. Yes, let's. Go get a fucking flu shot already.

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I usually never get a flu shot because I am strong and brave lazy and forgetful, but I'm heading straight out after work tonight and getting jabbed. The thing about the flu is that YOU might not die from it, but people totally die from it. My Norwegian great grandfather died of it in 1917, and he was a hardy barrel-chested farmer (your bushy mustache will not protect you!). Immunocompromised people, baby people, and elderly people are massively vulnerable.

To put that in tragic perspective, 20 children have already died in New York this year, and flu season hasn't even peaked.

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And do you know where people get the deadly flu? From you. So even if you get the flu and then just lie around for a few days watching Say Yes to the Dress and then sproi-oi-oing out of bed refreshed and good as new, the old lady next door or your cancer-stricken parent could get the exact same bug and literally die. It's your responsibility as a productive, self-aware citizen to nip that shit in the bud.

But is this year's flu that much worse than any other year's flu? Well, we don't exactly know yet. But I keep seeing these links that are like "Hey, want to look at a color-coded map of how bad the flu epidemic is right now?" and I'm like, "Hell yes I do—come at me, charts and graphs!" But then they're all totally boring because the entire map is just all one color. The color of GO-GET-A-FLU-SHOT.

I think the New Yorker put it best:

When it comes to influenza, most people are denialists. So far, fewer than forty per cent of Americans (adults and children) have been vaccinated against this flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The vaccine is far from perfect: preliminary data suggests that it will work at most two-thirds of the time. Still, influenza kills as many as forty-five thousand Americans a year and the vaccine reduces deaths, illnesses, the use of antibiotics, and the number of hospital visits. It can greatly lessen the burdens on a health-care system that can hardly cope as it is. The C.D.C. reported this week that hospitalization rates were already higher than expected-particularly for people sixty-five and older, the most vulnerable cohort.

...Even if you think you are invincible, your elderly neighbors and infant children are not. People with weakened immune systems-those undergoing cancer treatments, for example-are not. Your parents and grandparents are not. The flu vaccine is not perfect, but it's what we have. It's available at drug-store chains and malls, big-box superstores and, naturally, at your doctor's office. Get one today.

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Come on. It's the least you can do.

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DISCUSSION

honeybee2
queen honeybee

I've never gotten a flu shot and I don't plan to at this point. I also don't get the flu every year, nor does my husband. If I do get the flu, I'll rely on rest and my immune system to combat it. (Yes, I am privileged enough to be able to take sick days to recover from illness.)

I don't appreciate being ordered to take a drug that is completely unnecessary for me, considering I'm a healthy person with a healthy immune system.

I understand that other people have less healthy immune systems and are more vulnerable to illnesses. It is safe for young children, the elderly and the ill to get the shots, right? So isn't it sufficient for them to get the shots to protect them from anyone else who might get it?

I see how our over-dependence on medical intervention in the case of antibiotics is causing them to be less effective - dangerously so. It seems like we have too many healthy people taking drugs they don't need and not letting their immune systems do the work they're meant to do (and get stronger in the process). And this is actually creating an even more dangerous environment for us all.

I don't mean to be insensitive to the people who have lost loved ones to the flu, but I do question the mainstream approach to healthcare because it is overly focused on extreme medical intervention and drugs.