Better Pricked Than Sick: Learning to Love Flu Shots

A look back at how I discovered how important flu shots are.

The staff made me feel welcome and at ease. They were pleasant and professional in carrying out their duties.
—Mobile Health Patient
Flu Shot

If there was an Olympic event for needle dodging, I would win gold. I avoid getting pricked by syringes at every opportunity. Not surprisingly, every time I’ve been vaccinated I had to be dragged in by my ears. My natural aversion to needles meant that I didn’t have my first flu shot until I was 25, and only then because my mother tricked me into it. I learned two things from that formative experience:

  • Flu shots are effective and relatively painless.
  • If a small, elderly, Colombian lady named Martha asks if you want to go get ice cream, the correct answer is no.

Whatever the case, the flu shot was over in a heartbeat, and I left in much the same condition that I arrived, newly formed trust issues aside.

I had all but forgotten about my vaccination when, some months later, flu season came. I noticed, person to person, a sickness crawled through my office. One after another, my colleagues were missing work and desperately trying not to fall behind. I braced myself for the inevitable: fever, chronic sneeze face, chills, figuring out which of my nostrils would be congested at any given moment. It never happened. I had escaped flu season, and I was grateful.

Flu Shot

Turns out I was right to be thankful for dodging the influenza bullet. I didn’t know it at the time, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, on average, hospitalized with seasonal influenza  That’s roughly half the amount of people that are trying to spoil last week’s episode of Scandal, and that figure doesn’t even count the total amount of people who come down with the illness, just those that get hospitalized for it. Even more surprising is that upward trend. My mother knew what I had forgotten—anyone can get the flu, regardless of their health level. In fact, the routine Influenza vaccination every year, regardless of whether or not they’re at a higher risk for hospitalization.

So what can you do to stay nice and healthy? Well, the CDC recommends that you stay away from sick people, wash your hands, and, as I stated before, get a flu shot. We here at Mobile Health echo those suggestions and encourage you to get a flu shot as soon as possible. We have 50 locations  that can provide you with a flu shot, and we’re growing larger every year. Also, ask your employer if they can sponsor a corporate flu shot program.

Albeit sneaky, Martha has proven to be a wise lady, and I encourage you to learn from her example. (I mean about the flu shot, not the deception.) I now get a flu shot every year, and am healthier and happier for it. I hope you all do the same.