Thursday, October 19, 2017

Seasonal obligation to the herd: get your flu shot

Yesterday I presented my arm and came away with a button and a band-aid.

Why suggest that this is not just to protect my personal aging body from the flu, that getting the shot also had a community benefit? If we are able to get the shot, we contribute to "herd immunity."

... vaccinating yourself vastly increases the odds that you won't get sick with flu this season, but it also protects everyone you come into contact with: your parents, your sister's new baby, the stranger on the bus who can't get vaccinated because of an egg allergy, and everyone who isn't able to weather an infection as well as you.

The idea of herd immunity is like a moat around a castle or the natural behavior of herd animals when threatened by a predator. The strong surround the weak to protect them from attack; in this case the vaccinated protect those who can't be vaccinated or those with low immunity from contact with the flu by halting the spread of the virus.

Cleveland Plain Dealer

At the risk of reading like an ad for the Kaiser Permanente system, I also have to say the HMO makes the annual flu vaccination incredibly smooth. They situate ranks of nursing students in the lobby who check your age and whether you've had past bad reactions and then give you a quick stick. This takes less than 3 minutes. So much personal and community benefit for so little time and angst ...

2 comments:

Rain Trueax said...

Another reason for those who can to get the flu shot-- helps people like me who are allergic to it. My last flu shot had me sick for days with a lump that lasted months. Now I get pneumonia shots, shingles, and all okay but not the flu shot. I wash my hands religiously and try to stay out of crowds-- and hope others near to me get the shots.

janinsanfran said...

Good point, Rain!

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