Last Friday we took the boys to our weekly ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) class. And once again, there were several kids and their parents absent due to illness. This is the third week we’ve had small classes. Most people who have missed, ended up missing two weeks as the illness cycles through their families.
My husband and I always get a flu shot. Our kids do, too. And while there are no guarantees the flu shot will prevent us from getting the flu, it is a risk I’m willing to take, especially since more than 30 people have died from influenza this season already.
I know so many people who scoff at flu shots. They have lame excuses for not getting one: they’re too busy, they don’t want to spend the money, they think it doesn’t work, they say it makes them sick… the list goes on. I think they are making a costly mistake.
Think about it from a numbers standpoint: The average cost of a flu shot, which can help protect you from getting the flu and/or minimize the length/strength of symptoms is $10-$20. Some health insurance plans cover that cost completely.
Let’s say you don’t get the flu shot, and then you get influenza. At first you try to self-medicate with over-the-counter remedies at a cost of about $15. Then you miss a few days of work, costing you productivity (about $150-$200+/day). Then you are still miserable, so you go to visit your doctor ($20 for a co-pay to as much as $250 for a visit). The doctor gives you a prescription ($10-$40). And hopefully that takes care of it… but if it gets worse, and you end up hospitalized, all of these numbers increase exponentially.
The truth is you can’t get the flu from the shot, although a few people will get flu-like symptoms for about a day. And you can still get the flu even if you’ve had the shot, although it’s usually not as bad as if you didn’t get the vaccine. Dealing with those issues is still better than the 5-14 days it would take you to recover from the full-fledged flu.
Getting the shot takes a second and you can get one at clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and public health offices. You can read more facts about the flu vaccine from the Center for Disease Control’s website.
Getting the flu shot doesn’t just help you – it helps everyone around you – especially children, people with chronic health issues, and the elderly. If you stay healthy, I can stay healthy (and vice versa).
If you haven’t gotten the flu shot yet, there’s still time. And PLEASE get one next year.
Why take unecessary health and financial risks?