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It’s So Smart To Get A Flu Shot

With all the alarms clanging lately about the Ebola virus, probably the most important thing we should remember is that hysteria isn’t going to make us all safer. And Ebola panic is what health officials are trying to prevent, just as much as the virus itself.

Think about it.

We have a tiny handful of people diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. Yes, it is a scary disease that kills more than half the people infected, but the truth is it’s not that infectious if everyone knows the protocols: You need to come into direct contact with a sick person’s bodily fluids. And, in our country, I sincerely hope any outbreaks would be contained swiftly. We are still learning from the Dallas fiasco.

While we’re all looking at these few patients and (some people are) freaking out, we’re ignoring a virus you’re more at risk of contracting: seasonal flu.

That’s right. Have you had your flu shot yet?

Probably not. It’s early in the flu season. But the vaccines are available now. Don’t put it off.

Last year I waited too long and when I finally did go, the supply had temporarily run out. I never went back. I can only guess that’s why a lot of folks don’t get vaccinated in any given year: procrastination that leads to inaction.

Who’s at risk?

Seniors, children and those with chronic health conditions.

Seniors because our immune systems weaken as we age. According to flu.gov: “This weakening makes seniors — adults 65 years and older — more susceptible to the flu. For seniors, the seasonal flu can be very serious, even deadly. Ninety percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older.”

Children — especially under age 2 — because their immune systems are not fully developed. Children 6 months and older should be vaccinated.

People with chronic or serious health conditions should be vaccinated. These conditions include arthritis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and HIV/AIDS.

Now here’s a number you should pay attention to:

Every year 5 to 20 percent of people in the U.S. get the flu. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications.

But even if you aren’t in those categories, get a shot anyway. The flu is knock-you-down awful. Spare yourself the misery and the enforced time off of work. Get vaccinated.

According to our state health department, you can get a flu shot now in dozens of locations, including Longs, Safeway, Times, Foodland, Walgreens, Target and Costco. For a complete list of locations, numbers and requirements for flu shots, go to: health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/05/flushotschedule.pdf.

I got my shot at Longs last week. It was simple, fairly fast and best of all covered by insurance, so I paid nothing. And if you go now, before the peak of flu season, it’s easy and hassle free.

Stay healthy!

jmoonjones@ yahoo.com
Twitter: @JadeMoon1