By Marcus LaChapelle
Lately at the pharmacy counter, I have been talking about flu shots. I recommend and give flu shots every year, and every year I encounter more than a few people who resist a flu shot. Once a patient declines a flu shot, I have never been able to convince them to change their mind. Well, I am going to share what I feel is the most convincing reasons to get a flu shot. If you have not received a flu shot yet, I hope you'll reconsider or finally get it done. If you already got the flu shot, maybe you can use these facts to help convince a resistant family member or co-worker.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 80,000 people died of the flu. Of those, 180 were children and CDC estimates that 80 percent of those children did not receive a flu shot. In the general public, only 46 percent of adults received a flu shot. A large percentage of those deaths last year could have been prevented.
Vaccines have been able to wipe out diseases in the United States like polio and measles because of widespread vaccination. With only 46 percent of adults getting flu shots, we don't stand a chance. According to the CDC, if vaccination rates increased by just 5 percentage points across the entire population, another 483,000 illnesses, 232,000 medical visits and 6,950 hospitalizations associated with influenza could be prevented. If vaccination rates improved to the Healthy People goal of 70 percent for all age groups, another 1.89 million illnesses, 822,000 medical visits and 17,300 hospitalizations could have been prevented during the 2016-2017 influenza season.
It is up to the people who never or rarely get flu shots to change the numbers. Like the surgeon general recently warned, you get the flu from someone else. Anyone who doesn't get the flu shot is a potential carrier and/or transmitter of the flu to someone else, the dreaded spreader. You may unknowingly spread it to someone else who is not as strong to fight it. Don't be that guy.