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Why this nurse gets the flu shot

Thinkstock | Hemera

It’s that time of the year: The time when we start to hear the chatter about why you should or should not get the flu shot (influenza vaccine). I’ve gotta tell ya…I’ve heard some crazy reasons for and against this now-famous vaccine.

I’m not here to discuss the common urban legends and flat-out lies that you can read and hear from your friends and family. I’m also not here to comment on some of the less-than-reliable information that some professionals like to dole out.

I thought I’d give my own personal views on why I get the vaccine. Of course, as a nurse, my personal and professional life mesh in more ways than I’d like to admit, but here are some of the reasons I choose to take that “hold-your-breath” risk of getting the influenza vaccine:

I rather have some ammunition than no ammunition

  • The bugs out there are more dangerous than ever.
  • Bacterial infections makes us more susceptible to a viral superinfection.
  • Remember when MRSA used to be exclusive to nosocomial infections? Now we find strains of this bacteria in our high schools.
  • Antibiotic resistance is growing exponentially. There are bacteria out there for which we have no antibiotic treatment.

The public isn’t paying attention

  • When is the last time you witnessed someone use the lavatory and not wash their hands? Think about it.
  • Washing your hands has become a thing of the past, even though it is THE most effective way to fight off infections (both viral and bacterial).
  • I lose count of how many do not follow antibiotic prescriptions appropriately. Not taking the full Rx is just as bad as taking too many.

We’re all too busy to be sick

  • Most will choose taking a pill when they get sick, rather than figuring out a way to prevent themselves from getting sick in the first place.
  • Sometimes the single best prescription for an illness is to increase fluid intake and rest. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Treating a viral infection with an antibiotic is why we have no way to fight the new bacteria out there. If a “sick” person is not given a prescription, they feel they are not being treated.

I don’t get the flu shot because I think I need it. I get the flu shot to make sure I don’t regret not getting it! I could probably do fine without it, but in this day and age, I leave nothing to chance. Especially my health.

Do you get the flu shot? Why or why not?

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