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No one wants the flu shot. That is unless you have had the flu and felt the full effects. But you really,
really need it. Yes, we loath the flu shot. People will do anything they can to avoid it, creating amazing justifications.
Did you read on the internet that the flu shot causes you to get the flu? Or I’ve read in some blogs that
the flu shot can also cause you to suddenly grow a third arm, or third eye. There is the I am healthy, I
never get the flu, and the infamous “The flu isn’t dangerous”. Oh yeah – don’t forget about the
government tracker chips in all the flu shots – that is one of my favorites.

These are Rule 1 Violations (or just loving called Rule 1). Rule 1 is you can’t fix stupid. And I am not
talking about the ordinary you-don’t-know-something of being uninformed. I mean the I-don’t-care-
what-the-facts-are-I’m-going-to-ignore-it being stupid.

 

Now let’s be clear. Even though I am a physician – if a sharp end of a needle is coming my direction; I
am going the other direction, and not the; “Hey, it’s a nice day to stroll on the ocean” kinda speed. More
like the warp factor Zulu get out of my way or you’re going to get hurt kinda way. There might even be
some brown spots on the wall in the process.

Did I mention I got my flu shot this year? And every year? Can I tell you how happy I am to put my
fear of sharp pointy things piercing my body to the side for this stupid thing? Yeah, not really. But you
get the idea.

You NEED the flu shot for a number of reasons. The first is for self preservation. For many years, I
have taken care of people with the flu. Some whom get the shot, and some who don’t. I don’t know the
research out there, but I can tell you this from personal experience. If the flu is going to get it’s claws in
you, I mean put you in the hospital sick; it can save your life. It helps keep you out of the Intensive
Care Unit, can help keep your lungs from filling with fluid, and keep you from flat out dying. Last year,
the CDC reported 80,000 people DIED from the flu. That is more than two times the total number of
people living in all of Myrtle Beach. That is in the coffin dead. Whole cities of people – gone.
Also, if you get the flu shot, it makes a normal bout of the flu a little better. Yes, it makes the flu shorter
only a day or two. Yes, it makes your symptoms somewhat less. Yes, the shot makes you feel a little
lousy. But when you feel like someone ran you over with a steam roller and is using a metal mallet
inside your head; a little bit can be a BIG difference. Again, it can save your life – not a bad deal for a
little needle.

The next is the way the flu is spread. The vaccine has your body’s defenses against infection ready to go. If flu crawls into you, you can fight it better and more quickly. That means the flu does not release as many “flu bugs” from your body to be spread to other people. The medical term is “herd immunity.” Your shot, and every other person’s shot, helps the community as a whole.

Now, the shot is not perfect by any means. It is made by humans. Granted, really smart humans, but we
are still prone to errors. Sometimes we do not get the mix right. Sometimes providers five the wrong
vaccine type – there are different doses for different problems. Yet on the whole, it is pretty darned
good.

If you would like some more information, or just want to know everything flu, go to the CDC Flu site.

If you want to hear stories about the flu shot causing whatever you are afraid of; go online. There is a
blog or urban legend to support it. But look behind what is supporting the information.
And please – get your flu shot. Now. It take about two weeks to kick in.