If you’ve talked to anyone who’s had the flu this year, it sounds awful. I mean, really awful. This is no mild strain. People have been knocked down for days and left weak as kittens by the virus. They have high fevers, they’re unable to keep food down, and their body aches. They’ll tell anyone who hasn’t been felled by the flu to get a flu shot . . . in fact, they’ll tell you to do just about anything to avoid getting this strain of the flu.
I’ve never had a flu shot. Usually the shots are in short supply, and I’ve always thought that able-bodied people should leave the vaccines for the elderly, people with impaired immune systems, and children, who really need it most. (Of course, now that I’m 55, the AARP, which keeps sending me membership materials, apparently thinks I’ve reached the ranks of the elderly, so maybe I should change my self-image — but that’s an issue for another day.)
The horror stories I’ve heard about the flu this year are making me think about getting my first-ever flu shot. I’ve always wondered, though, about their value. I’ve never had a real problem with the flu. Are some people more susceptible to it than others, and if I get a flu shot, might that make me more susceptible in the future? There also are nagging questions about whether the flu shots really work — although the medical experts always explain the instances where people who’ve had a flu shot and still get the flu as situations where the victim was exposed before they got the shot. With all of the traveling I’ve been doing, sitting on airplanes with complete strangers, isn’t it likely I’ve already been exposed?
When it comes to getting shots and taking drugs, I’m of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school. It may be foolish, but I’m inclined not to get the flu shot this year.