Oct. 15th, 2015

sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (biohazard)
I present for your edification, Brooke's flu vaccine Q&A from 2012.

Q: Do you recommend the flu shot for me personally?

A: Are you allergic to eggs or to neomycin? No? THEN YES I DO!

Yes, you! The flu kills thousands of people every year (hundreds just in BC,) and the shot is easy and safe to get. You can avoid being horribly ill yourself, and you can avoid passing it on to other people - especially to babies, seniors, and people with medical conditions that leave them vulnerable to dying if they get the flu.

Q: I never get sick. Why would I want to get a shot? Shots aren't fun, you know.

A: The average healthy person gets the flu about once every ten years. If you "never" get sick, it's probably chance, not a super-power.

Q: Seriously. Shots. Not fun. I'm good; I stay home when I'm sick and wash my hands.

A: You're contagious before you get a single flu symptom. By the time you conscientiously remove yourself from the workforce, you've probably spread it to your friends and family. Gee, thanks!

Q: But SHOTS!

A: It's not that bad. It pinches, it's over in one second, and then your muscle feels like you played tennis the day before. Some shots hurt more than others, and the flu shot is one of the least irritating.

If the thought of a shot really freaks you out, there are options: you can pay up for a squirt-up-your-nose vaccine, or for a new kind with a micro-needle. These don't work as well as the traditional kind, and can irritate your nose and/or skin respectively, but they are MUCH BETTER than not getting vaccinated! Really, the regular shot is over in one second and then you just have an excuse not to do the dishes for a day or two! A crappy excuse! I got my shot this morning and I have to think hard to remember which arm it was.

Q: I got the flu shot last year. Do I really need another one?

A: Yes! Two reasons. One, the flu is madly in love with mutating, so there are different strains that are dominant each year. The strains covered in this year's shot are different from last year. Pokemon, collect them all! Two, if you get your shots every year, after about five years you have a better immunity /even to flu strains you haven't been vaccinated for/. It's kind of like a frequent flyer rewards program.

Q: I got the flu shot and I still got sick!

A: The flu shot protects you against the flu, influenza, which is a really nasty sickness where you have a fever, full body muscle aches, cough, congestion, the works. It doesn't work against a regular cold, unfortunately, and it doesn't work against bacterial infections like strep throat. There are still lots of ways to get sick this winter - but the flu can be deadly and it's something we CAN do something about.

It's not perfect against the flu - it protects you against the most common strains, and can help you get a milder version of the flu if you do get sick. It varies from 60-95% effective based on how good a job the experts do at predicting which flu strains will be the biggest threats this year.

So is it still worthwhile? I sure think so! The flu shot saves lives every year, the lives of vulnerable people, and it prevents suffering both in those at-risk populations and in regular healthy people who wouldn't die but who don't necessarily like being full-on horrible sick for two weeks.

The flu shot lets you be a superhero just by sitting there. You can protect frail seniors, tiny wee babies, cancer and HIV patients, and more, just by protecting yourself from being a flu carrier. Don't be the chump who gives an old lady the flu that kills her.

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