October 14, 2009


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

If you are like me, you probably don’t give much thought about getting a flu shot. There are a couple of reasons why I don’t get mine and I’m sure there are many other people who subscribe to the same thought process. First, we think we are too busy to take time from our busy day to schedule an appointment at the clinic. And second, since we have never been really sick with the flu before, the chances are good that we aren’t going to get the flu this year.
That has always been my theory in the past. Yes, it was perfectly fine that my wife and kids got their shots. After all, they don’t have my immune system.
But this year, I’m going to get vaccinated for the two strains of flu. That’s right, it may take more than one shot this year to prevent the flu bugs that is now showing up around the country.
Why my sudden change in attitude about getting vaccinated this year?
First, the typical seasonal flu that normally shows up in the winter is already being reported around the country. And so with the early arrival of the flu bug, there is a greater chance that more and more people are going to catch it.
Second, and the most important reason, for getting vaccinated this year is the H1N1 virus. Some people may remember it by its former name, the swine flu.
The H1Ni virus is not something to take lightly. It can be extremely serious and is deadly. Worldwide, as of the first part of September, over 2,800 people have died because of the virus. And according to U.S. health officials, as of the first of October, 76 children in the U.S. have died from the H1N1 flu since the virus was discovered in April. In comparison, 46 to 88 children died each year during the past three influenza seasons.
The H1N1 virus seems to be hitting children, pregnant women,  and young adults the hardest. But older people with underlying health issues are also at risk on the virus. And new research is finding that relatively healthy young adults and adolescents are more likely to become critically ill.
So how many people in the United States are at potential risk from the H1N1 virus? Looking at who is most susceptible, the answer is about half of the nation’s population could become seriously ill from the virus.
So to me, the decision as whether or not I’m going to get vaccinated for all strains of flu this time around is pretty simple.
Now all I need is for the supply of vaccine to arrive in Watford City and I’ll be taking time off of work from my busy work schedule to get my shots.
Even if you don’t want to heed my advice, follow the advice of your doctor and make sure that you get your vaccination as soon as you can.
It could be one of the cheapest insurances you can take to ensure you don’t come down with a terrible case of the flu this flu season.