Why it’s important to get flu shot

Published 5:50 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2018

We’re coming off one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory, one that caused 145 deaths in the state of Georgia and thousands of hospitalizations statewide. The flu wasn’t just bad in Georgia though, it was bad everywhere, and it caused countless deaths across the United States.

One of those deaths was in LaGrange, where a longtime business owner died.

Unfortunately, we’re getting around to that time of year again. Oct. 1 is generally regarded as the start of flu season in the United States, and it runs until the start of spring.

It’s impossible to know how widespread the flu might be this year. It could be a down year for the influenza virus overall, or it could just build on last year’s horrible season and be as bad or worse. Nobody knows.

Last week, we reported that WellStar West Georgia Medical Center is already dealing with positive cases of the flu, with most patients having the B-strain of the virus. Emory at LaGrange is already seeing cases as well.

It’s a little early to see positive flu tests, with the earliest results coming in August, so physicians at WellStar were a bit alarmed with the timing.

On Tuesday, we published the results of a Facebook survey we posted, asking locals if they were going to get a flu shot this year. The majority of voters said no, with some commenting that they’d never received a flu shot and had never gotten the virus. That’s probably true for quite a number of people, and that’s the type of results no one can argue with.

Hopefully, anyone in that position will have the same luck this year.

Unfortunately, a lot of people will get the flu this year, including some who have never had it before. By the time the aches, chills and fever start, it’s too late to run to a pharmacy to get the shot.

Getting a flu shot only takes a couple of minutes out of your day, hurts like poking your finger and generally protects you the entire season.

We’ve all heard the argument that the flu shot was only 30 percent effective last year, but it’s also true that many that got the shot had lesser symptoms.

The majority of people who died from the flu last year had not received the shot.

We all hope the flu won’t be as bad this year, but it’s better to protect yourself. The flu shot is the most effective way to do so, along with consistent hand washing.

Take the time to get the flu shot, just in case. As we’ve written before, it’s better to be safe than sorry.