It’s almost flu season, and everyone who is able should get a flu shot.
You might think, “Hey, the flu shot isn’t 100 per cent effective so what’s the point?” Or, “even if I skip the shot and catch a cold, it’s not that big of a deal.” Guess what: You should get it anyway.
Why? First, because you’re wrong — as our health editor Beth Skwarecki writes, “Flu shots work, and are a smart way to reduce the chances that you’ll end up sick this winter.” But secondly, and this is the more important point, this isn’t about you!
If you’re not going to do it for yourself, do it for children and the elderly, as Aaron E. Carroll writes in The New York Times.
Influenza, commonly called the flu, spreads easily. You can catch it from someone who coughs, sneezes or even talks to you from up to six feet away. You can infect others a day before you show any symptoms, and up to a week after becoming sick.
He adds that because the flu is so common, we tend to underestimate its impact.
Now consider this:
There have been a total of 13,189 laboratory confirmed notifications of influenza in Australia for 2019 since the start of March. If you think it's still too early to be worrying about getting the flu shot, think again.
Getting a flu shot significantly lowers your risk of dying, or passing it on to someone who will die. So if you can’t be bothered to get a flu shot for your own health, then please, think of infants, those with weakened immune systems from illness and the elderly.
“You don’t get immunised just to protect yourself,” writes Carroll. “You also get immunised to protect those who can’t protect themselves.”
In sum, don’t be selfish: Get a flu shot.