Refusing the flu shot not worth the risk

Please get a flu shot.

If you haven’t already received the vaccination, we are urging that you seek out a health agency and get it done. It only takes a few minutes, is relatively painless and it could save your life or the life of someone else.

This year’s flu season is widespread and dangerous. Last week alone, there were 21 flu-related deaths in the state, including a 6-year-old child. And that brings the total number of flu deaths to 67, an astounding number early into 2018 and just midway through the season.

In Sampson County, there have already been 82 positive flu cases confirmed through Sampson Regional Medical Center’s lab. That number does not reflect outside medical practices or the Sampson Health Department, both which, we are sure, would mirror the hospital’s number.

Thus the plea, which is being echoed across Sampson and Duplin counties by health care officials who have witnessed what they say is the most widespread cases of the flu in the past 13 years.

Hospital emergency rooms have been described as looking like war zones, filled with sick people suffering from the flu; doctors’ offices are teeming with people there to be tested and treated; and urgent cares continue to see a climb in numbers of people suffering from the flu symptoms.

Getting the flu shot is key. But also important to avoiding the virus is frequently washing your hands, avoiding contact with those who are sick and staying away from hospitals and doctors’ offices unless absolutely necessary.

For those who’ve tested positive already for the flu, it’s important to stay home and stay away from the general public. If medicines are necessary, send a loved one to the pharmacy.

This season, health officials say the predominate strain has been reported as H3N2, which causes the worst outbreaks of the two influenza A viruses and two types of the influenza B viruses that circulate among people.

In some cases, direct contact has not even been necessary to infect, making it that much more important for those diagnosed with the virus to quarantine themselves until their temperature is gone.

While some may think it is too late now to be vaccinated, health officials continue to urge people to get the shot and to do so quickly. Delaying a moment longer is not a good idea.

While never something to play around with, the flu has become increasingly deadly, particularly to the very young and to the elderly. In reality, the virus can and has killed those in their 40s and 50s, even some in their 20s and 30s, so it seems a deadly game to hedge one’s bets.

Today, rather than asking yourself why you should get the flu shot, instead wonder why not?

Isn’t your life worth the few minutes it takes to get one? Isn’t someone else’s life that valuable. We believe the answer to both questions is yes.

So please, if you haven’t gotten the flu shot, do so today. Waiting or refusing is not worth the risk.