Thursday, March 30, 2017

Reasons to Have the Seasonal Flu Jab

I’ve been trying to get to the crux of the question of why I blog. It’s not because I have time on my hands – there is always a long list of chores to be done around the house and garden, and the internet is most assuredly the thief of time. I don’t have a huge following, or fan base, to feed my ego; and I don’t earn money from blogging. So why do it? Well, fundamentally I’m a communicator, I like to share thoughts and ideas, and I like words on a page.  Ideally, I would realise a lifelong ambition to write a novel but I fear that I am well past the phase of life when the imagination in on fire. Nevertheless, I sometimes like to entertain with anecdotes that might amuse my readers for a few minutes; and sometimes I might have a nugget of useful information or an idea to give pause for thought.  So I write my blog.

Today I have been pondering on the seasonal flu vaccination. ‘Why?' you might wonder, ‘this untimely interest - hopefully, the flu season has come and gone, leaving most of us untouched by the dreaded virus’. Not so. Last week one of my regular Bridge four was rushed to hospital with a serious case of the flu. I think he didn’t choose to have the annual vaccination because, although he’s a man in his late seventies, he is super-fit for his age and probably felt that he didn’t need protection. An erstwhile County standard tennis player he still regularly plays veterans' tennis, enjoys golfing and prefers walking and cycling to the car. He eats a diet so healthy that most of us consider stringent, and doesn’t have an ounce of excess weight on his body.

My point is that flu is a serious illness for the elderly (and for very young children). It can be fatal. The vaccine is not as effective in the over sixty-fives as in younger people but it does offer some protection and if we are infected makes flu less serious than it would otherwise be. Everyone in the age groups that are most susceptible really ought to have the annual jab – it’s provided free of charge by the NHS. Yet the uptake this year by age 65+ was only 70.4% and 38.9% of 2 year- old infants were vaccinated
 Perhaps other age groups might think it worthwhile to have the shot when the next flu season comes around – flu is very unpleasant, whatever our age; and if you don’t catch the virus you are not going to infect young and elderly people who, should they succumb, might end up in a hospital.

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