Friday, August 20, 2010

Task: Flu shot

I don’t remember whether this was on the original task list or was added in (I am always coming up with new stuff to do), but one very real concern was getting a flu shot.

As a diabetic I have a compromised immune system, so I am generally supposed to get one. I had been pretty good about it, but then in 2008 I did not get one. Mom got one, and when flu swept through the household she was the only one who did not get it.

It had been so long since I had gotten the flu that I forgot exactly how terrible it could be. At its peak it felt like someone had beaten me over my entire body with a baseball bat. Then, it started feeling like the beating had still happened, but they had missed some spots. It was so miserable.

The irony was that I had just finished reading “The Monster at our Door”, which focused on Avian flu but was a good primer in general on what could happen and how flu strains work, so I don’t know what I was thinking, except that we caught it fairly early in the season and maybe I would have gotten a shot in a few more weeks if it had left me alone.

Anyway, for the 2009 flu season there was also the threat of H1N1, and I really intended to get both. I never did get the H1N1 vaccine, as it took so long to become available, but I know that somehow that fear motivated people more than usual to get the regular flu shots, and that line my mother and I waited in took three hours. Still, I did not get sick, and that was a good thing.

I had been thinking of it lately, because the H1N1 threat was recently declared to have been past, and I hope people realize that the government did a reasonable job with it. I know people were initially afraid, and then thought it was for nothing, but there was a real threat, and even with a vaccine shortage, what was there was generally deployed appropriately, and the precautions that people took about washing hands and such were helpful. Having read the book helped me appreciate that more, but also someone was recently on the Daily Show who pointed to that as a success, and I realized that they probably weren’t getting much credit. Actually, a new edition of “Monster” with an added chapter could be good.

I must say, I get really mad at how much credence people give the anti-vaccination campaigns. They do a lot of harm. Good intentions combined with ignorance are, well, a really widespread problem.

Get your flu shots.

40 minutes walking outside
Words of Mormon – Jacob 7

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