News that three people in Western Washington have died from a severe, aggressive influenza strain – including a Pierce County child – reinforces advice from health officials: Get your flu shot.
Even if you get it now, the shot will take two weeks to become fully effective, so there’s no time to waste.
You may think you don’t need one; you’re strong and healthy and could tough out a case of flu. But what about any children you come in contact with? The shot is not recommended for infants under 6 months. It’s safe for those over 6 months, but many parents refuse to have their children inoculated with any vaccine – putting them at risk for all communicable diseases. And the flu can be especially dangerous for children. Those under 2 are most likely to need hospitalization if infected.
Some older individuals can’t get a flu shot, either because of an egg allergy or illness. They, too, are vulnerable to infection when others they come in contact with don’t get vaccinated.
Getting a flu shot is, in the end, a personal decision. But failing to get one can have dire effects for others. As a personal testimony, I haven’t had the flu since starting to get an annual flu shot.