“Just do it, you big baby.”
My wife pulls no punches each fall when it’s time for a flu shot. Last year, I wimped out, making any number of excuses to avoid heading into a vaccination clinic: I’m too busy. I’m too macho. I’m healthy enough. Back off.
But germs don’t care about how “manly” you are (I’m not) or how many vitamins you take (I don’t). Neither will ward off the flu.
And the truth is, I was lying to myself. My real reason for ducking seasonal vaccination clinics is that I’ve always hated needles. Oh, I wouldn’t have a problem injecting others but my brain starts flashing red warning klaxons when it’s my arm on the line.
Look, these things can be hard to admit.
This year, we took the kids for their flu shots earlier than normal, and since I was there I had no excuses left to shield me.
Four-year-old Camryn went first and barely flinched. There were no tears. The gauntlet was thrown, so I stepped up and tried to take it as well as she did.
I managed to fake nonchalance well enough that Max (four) and Rylin (turning seven) dropped their fears. Panic prevented, crying avoided.
The shot wasn’t a big deal, but our collective immunization is. “Getting your flu shot helps protect all, including older adults, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications,” said Sietske de Fijter, state epidemiologist and chief of the Ohio Department of Health’s Bureau of Infectious Diseases.
Most people can handle a bout with the flu — but not everyone. For some, it can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure, hospitalization, and even death. Even missed work and school days can cause problems that no one should have to deal with.
So when you get a flu shot, you’re not only protecting yourself, you’re protecting your neighbors as well.
Or as my wife would say, “Just do it, you big baby.”
Flu season really takes off in October and peaks between December and February. State officials are asking you to get your shot now to stop the spread of the most virulent strains.
In addition to an immunization, be sure to also wash your hands frequently; cover coughs and sneezes; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and stay home when you’re sick until you’re fever-free for 24 hours.