It's that time of year for a flu shot

Steve Lyon
For many years I didn’t get a flu
shot. I didn’t need one, I thought.
I’m fit, work out and try to eat
pretty healthy.
My attitude changed a couple of years
ago. I was working at the
Humboldt Sun newspaper in
the wild and wooly town of
Winnemucca, Nev.
I came down with the flu,
or maybe it was malaria, or
maybe it was both. The worst
part was a death rattle of a
cough, and when it got bad it
was difficult to breathe.
The wracking cough kept
me up at night. It was scary
stuff, a sensation that almost
feels like you’re drowning.
The virus had me down
for the count. The headache,
the aches and pains deep in the bones
and joints, the uncontrollable bouts of
shivering and then sweating with a fever
went on for two weeks. It was pure misery
at the hand of mean microbes.
Anyway, that episode fairly convinced
me that maybe medical science
is on to something with the flu vaccine.
They tweak it every year to cover the
prevalent flu strains.
I completely understand the concept.
By injecting some inert virus, my immune
system will respond by rallying to
fight the bug. A flu shot doesn’t guarantee
you won’t get sick, but it gives you
some defense.
I have heard from others that refuse to
do a flu shot. The anti-vaxxers
will tell you the flu shot
is a government plot or the
vaccine contains aluminum
and causes autism.
Others say they’ll ride it
out if they get the flu and
treat it on the other end with
antibiotics. They claim to
never get sick anyway.
From my experience, it’s
always these people who
are the first to get a cold or
the flu and bring it into the
office. A few wheezes and
sneezes and the germs are
airborne for everyone to catch.
If I have a choice, I’d rather not get
the flu in the first place. So I am planning
to get a shot shortly. It takes two minutes
and it’s nothing more than a pin prick.
My mom gets the flu shot every year
without fail in October. She’ll constantly
nag me until I get mine.
She is right to do so, of course. If I
catch the flu bug, she gets exposed, and
the flu can be downright dangerous for
senior citizens.
The flu season last year went on and
on for 21 straight weeks through May.
It was the longest flu season in recent
years, and it was deadly.
The CDC estimated that the 2019
flu season caused up to 61,000 deaths
across the country and sickened up to 43
million people. The flu was an equal opportunity
illness – hitting the young and
old, the healthy and the infirmed alike.
The New York Times has reported that
a rough flu season just wrapped up in
Australia and that could be a harbinger
of things to come in the U.S.
The CDC recommends everyone 6
months and older (with rare exceptions)
get vaccinated by the end of October.
That way, your immune system is ready
when peak flu season comes around and
somebody sneezes in your direction.
If you can’t make an appointment
with your medical provider, or don’t
want to take the time, flu shots are available
at local pharmacies.
It’s fast there – in and out in minutes.
Most insurance plans cover the cost of
a flu shot.
If you do get the flu, do your co-workers
in the office and everyone else a big
favor and stay home.
Steve Lyon is the editor of the Weiser
Signal American. Contact him at


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Weiser, ID 83672
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