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Flu shots protect more than just individual health

Haven’t gotten around to getting that flu shot yet? Figure you’re young and strong and wouldn’t have any trouble fighting off a bout with influenza?

Well, if you come in contact with older people, children or anyone else for whom flu is serious — perhaps deadly — business, shame on you.

Thus far, we in this region of the country have been relatively lucky. Comparatively few cases of the flu have been reported. Thankfully, the current flu season may not be like last year’s.

During that months-long battle with the disease, it claimed the lives of about 61,000 Americans. Some communities were so overwhelmed by it that their hospitals had to erect tents in parking lots to handle all their patients.

Getting a flu shot does more than protect you against the disease. It also safeguards those around you. It makes you something of a mini-firewall against a full-blown epidemic such as that in some areas last season.

Flu shots are available widely at doctors’ offices, pharmacies and health departments. Most health insurance covers the cost. For those of limited means and without insurance, programs are available to provide the shots free of charge.

If you have gotten your flu shot already, bless you for being conscientious. If you have not, do the right thing for those around you and get the shot soon.

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