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Editorial: Flu shots

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

In a turnaround from recent years, there are ample supplies of vaccine going into the flu season. The more than 132 million doses available is the most ever produced in the U.S. Thanks to the availability of the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging the shots for anyone who wants to avoid a week of misery.

The CDC push for more Americans to get vaccinated -- some opt for a nasal-spray dose -- is prompted by the fact that only a fraction of those most at risk have been getting the shots. There have already been reports of flu among schoolchildren in Hawaii.

While flu vaccine is not an ironclad guarantee you won't get the flu, it protects those who get the shots or use the nasal spray against three of the most common and newest strains of influenza. As a result, most of the vaccinated population avoids the waves of outbreaks that spread anywhere people are concentrated.

In addition to getting a flu shot, most of us can't be reminded too often that other simple precautions can help avoid illnesses. The biggest one is washing your hands frequently throughout the day and particularly after a visit to the restroom.

Flu can result in death for some individuals, but most of us can avoid such complications by getting a flu shot. Call your doctor or the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center for information about getting flu shots. Some pharmacies also have scheduled flu shots.

This year, the only thing preventing you from getting a flu shot is you.


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