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Getting a flu shot is important for us all

Oct. 4, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Flu season is officially upon us and, while the highest incidence of the disease is usually seen during the winter months, now is the time to get vaccinated. Once you have the virus a vaccination won't do any good and there are no magic pills to make it go away.

A vaccination is particularly important for those in one of the high-risk groups: young children, pregnant women, those with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people ages 65 and older.

For those people getting the flu is more than just an inconvenience, it is often a life-threatening event. It does not have to be.

We should say that the flu vaccine is not perfect. It includes protection against the three most common and expected forms of the flu this season. It is always possible that another form of the virus - there are countless mutations - will be the most prevalent. This is not likely, but you should know that getting vaccinated is not a 100 percent safeguard.

It is still vital for people to get flu shots. One of the reasons we have had no serious flu outbreaks over the last decade or so is because people are getting vaccinated, thus the disease has a much more difficult path to spreading.

For that reason alone, flu vaccinations are more than simply a task that you do for yourself. Those who do not get vaccinated become ill and spread it to others who have not been protected. Ultimately, some of these people will have to be treated at taxpayer expense, which costs much more than taxpayers footing the bill for a $10 vaccination shot.

We know that some have fears about taking vaccinations. We regret that in recent years rumors and unfounded notions have arisen about getting vaccinated. None of those are true. It has not helped that some of these ideas have actually been spread by our elected officials who should know better.

You might feel a bit puny for a few days following a flu shot and your arm might be sore for the same amount of time, but otherwise there is absolutely no harm from getting a vaccination. Don't let yourself be fooled by wild Internet rumors.

Flu shots are readily available around town from the Marshall-Harrison County Health Clinic at 805 Lindsey Drive, just behind Good Shepherd Hospital-Marshall, to virtually every pharmacy in town. At the clinic the shots cost $20 if you have insurance and $10 if you do not. Check for the prices at the pharmacies so you don't experience "sticker shock."

Of course your regular doctor can also give you a flu shot.

Where you get the shot doesn't matter, that you get it is important to not just you, but many others of us also. Please act before the virus hits.



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