Flu shots available

Still not too late for the flu shot.

You may consider this a cautionary tale.

I decided not to receive a flu shot this year. I had various excuses — flu shots cost money, they hurt, the task takes time out of a very busy day. In the past, I often haven’t needed one. I think I’ve had a flu shot once since 2012 and I haven’t caught the flu once — until this year.

It started with a tickle in the back of the throat, something easily mistaken for something else such as a sinus infection or the common cold. The next morning when you roll out of bed, though — then you know something’s wrong. 

It hurts, for one thing — everywhere. You’ve developed a runny nose, a nasty cough and probably a temperature into the bargain. Though you’ve had a full night of sleep, you’re still tired. Going into work is the last thing you want to do in this situation — both because you’re exhausted and because by now you’ve probably guessed you have something contagious.

If you’re lucky, you can call in sick and go to the doctor for all the relevant tests and maybe some medicine.

If you’re not so lucky, you may find yourself at work against all your better judgement, spreading germs to everyone you encounter. I strongly suggest you just stay home. Your coworkers will surely thank you.

The flu can ruin your week — and the rest of the holiday season, if it comes to that — in the blink of an eye.

If this weren’t bad enough, the flu can also lead to other nasty things, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, according to according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

It’s entirely possible to prevent, however, and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t to receive a flu shot. If you haven’t received yours yet this year, it’s still not too late. People have been known to catch the flu as late in the year as May, according to the CDC. 

It’s going to be an all around bad year for people catching this nasty virus, according to a recent article by the Washington Post. The article said that this year so far there have already been more than six times last year’s number of confirmed cases of flu.

So please, consider being vaccinated before it’s too late and in the meanwhile take other precautions.

Wash your hands regularly, especially if you’ve been in contact with a flu-infected person, and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. It’s not a bad idea to keep a bottle of Lysol disinfectant spray in your desk, in case of emergencies. In college, I sprayed a blast of that stuff every time I left my dorm for class and it helped stave off infectious diseases.

Good luck. You’re gonna need it.

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