Here are subjects I do not debate:
- Whether the world is round or flat
- Whether the earth travels around the sun or the sun around the earth
- Whether dinosaurs and humans lived together
- The necessity of immunizations
I have opinions on various issues, but when it comes to scientific proof, I don’t waste my time arguing facts. The earth is round, and it travels around the sun. The only place where humans and dinosaurs coexisted was on the Flintstones. I just got my flu shot.
I know that discussions about immunizations are controversial, but if speaking up means I lose readers but save lives, then it’s a risk worth taking.
When I think about flu shots, my mind goes to World War I, fought from 1914 to 1918. That horrible war took the lives of 16 to 17 million people in the world. More than 20 million were wounded. In the last year of that war, a flu epidemic began. Called the Spanish flu, it raged on for two years. There were 500 million infections, killing between 50 and 100 million people in the world.
People say they never had the flu until they got the shot. That argument doesn’t hold water. Either you got your shot too late, you got a strain of the flu that isn’t covered by the vaccine, or you had a one-day immune response which may make you feel like crap for the day, but isn’t anywhere like having the flu. If you are over 65, high dose flu shots are recommended, and some people feel a bit low and fluish the next day. This is not the flu – it is an immune system reaction.
Those who should not get a flu shot are:
- Children younger than 6 months of age.
- Those who have had a severe allergic reaction to chicken eggs or influenza vaccine.
- People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever should seek medical advice to see if they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated.
- People with a history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome should talk to their doctor to help decide whether the vaccine is recommended.
Now is the time to get the shot, assuming it is available in your area. If you have any kind of medical insurance, it should be free. Most chain-store pharmacies and medical clinics offer flu shots. Some communities have free clinics. My town offers drive-through flu shot clinics; you don’t even have to get out of your car!
Don’t wait too long. The flu is brutal.