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January 18, 2013

NASH: The flu is in the news

Over the last couple of weeks there have been numerous news reports concerning the rash of flu cases around the country. On both the local level and the network nightly news programs, there has been story after story about the outbreak of the flu this year and how it is wreaking havoc with our world and our workforce. The one point about all of these newscasts is the recommendation that everyone get a flu shot.

The only problem is that most of the places that you go to get the flu shot — doctors’ offices, clinics or neighborhood pharmacies — are now jammed packed with people that may be contagious with none other than the Influenza virus. The vaccine, which changes from year to year, takes a couple of weeks to build up the antibodies in the body and for the protection to become fully effective. If you sit around a crowded doctor’s office in the peak point of flu season waiting for a flu vaccine, it may already be too late. They should start the newscast requesting people get a flu shot in fall and not wait until people start dying.

Although it hit a little earlier this year, peak flu season is normally from the end of January to the middle of February. It is not too late to get your flu shot for this year, but I recommend in the future you get it in middle to late fall for maximum effectiveness.

Some people still refuse to get a flu shot each year. Some of these people have legitimate concerns, others are conspiracy theorists who believe that the U.S. Government is trying to poison the citizens. There are also some people who believe some vaccines the government requires or recommends are supplemented with microscopic tracking devices that they use to follow our every move. Why on earth would they need those? They can already see you through your television set and satellites. The most common reply of people when asked why they don’t get a flu shot is its lack of effectiveness. There is always someone who says that they got the flu shot once and they still got the flu. It is true that the flu vaccine is not as effective as people would like. Some studies released suggest that it is effective around 60 percent of the time. There are those who argue that those odds just aren’t worth the trouble. If I was in a casino and got those odds I would leave with more money than I came with.

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