Mama Madison: A shot in the arm

It is really important to get a flu shot

While I am not sure my primary motivator for avoiding the flu is fear my child might end up at a less selective college, I do agree with Citizen Dave that getting a flu shot, for both adults and kids, is a good idea. Based on everything ever read, seen, or heard about the virus, it absolutely sucks. And if a simple vaccine exists that can help a person avoid it, sucking it up and getting poked is a worthwhile thing to do.

We take the devastation the flu can wreck pretty seriously around our house. Years ago my sister-in-law, young and healthy at the time (actually, she's still young, and once again healthy), came down with the flu and ended up being hospitalized for a week with pneumonia, one of the virus's more serious side effects. And several years back, my husband had his turn with the god-awful infection. For five days straight, he lay alone in our dark basement with a high fever, only acknowledging my existence when I came to give him Tylenol.

He didn't speak, he didn't eat--he was even too sick to even watch TV. And when I remind the kids of this---they can't even imagine what illness without cable could possibly feel like---they are more than willing to face the inoculation needle.

My husband and boys got their shots back around Thanksgiving. And healthwise, it's been "so far, so good" this winter for them.

My daughter and I have felt just fine thus far this flu season, too. Embarrassing but true, though, we haven't gotten our shots yet. I have no philosophical reason or thoughtful excuse for why this hasn't happened. I am sure I could pick up the phone tomorrow and get an appointment at our health care provider's flu clinic. Heck, I can walk up to Neuhauser Pharmacy today, or drive over to Walgreens, and be protected in a flash. The only reason I haven't is, well, just plain laziness, I guess. I haven't made getting the shot a priority for either of us. And I know I need to make it one, not just for my family's sake, but also for the sake of every one with whom we come in contact.

According to the state Department of Health Services, as of the end of the day last Friday, January, 11, Wisconsin had seen 4,249 confirmed influenza cases, more than double the number of cases the state saw all of last season. And things are bound to get worse before they get better.

The DHS folks are urging people like me, those who so far haven't heeded the warning, to get inoculated as soon as possible. And lucky for us foot (arm?) draggers; Wisconsin still has plenty of vaccine left.

So while no guarantees of perfect health come with the needle, it's enough excuses and tempting of fate on my part. I promise, by the time this is posted, my daughter and I will have gotten our flu shots.

Because no one around here wants to lose a week of work or school.

And especially not a week of television. Not when "Downton Abbey," with or without Spanish Flu, is back on.

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