It’s FLU Season, Are You Getting Vaccinated?

By Eric G. Braun, Senior Writer, USRW

Bad words don’t always come in four letters, though they are the most popular and widely used. No examples here, you know what they are and have probably used one in the last hour at least. Your mother may not approve, but we won’t tell and we don’t judge,

There is one exceptionally nasty word that comes in three letters though.  Now I know your brain is thinking of what it is in the background, but I will save you the hassle of using all those neutrons and electrons in your brain housing group.

FLU….

There, I said it. FLU is the short version of influenza. We as Americans love our acronyms, and why not, what sounds cooler? Telling your boss, you’re in bed with Influenza, or telling the big cheese you got the ‘FLU.” Now those of you calling off sick to go fishing or do anything remotely more fun than work, the FLU is a good one. Ttrust me your boss and fellow workers won’t think twice.

Nobody likes a sick worker near them or in the office at work.  The flu excuse works as well as telling the boss you have stomach issues and can’t stay out of the bathroom. Yes, a bit gross and perhaps a shade embarrassing, but you won’t get many questions using that one. Nobody wants to know more then they need to when it comes to bathroom issues.

OK, no more 3rd grade bathroom humor.

The FLU is a serious problem,  and its official definition is that it’s “a common disease that is caused by a virus that causes fever, weakness, body aches and respiratory problems, as well as issues with your nose, throat, and lungs.”

As Professional Drivers, we are at a bit of a higher risk simply by the nature of our job. We travel the country, work near one another, and use facilities at truck stops (a breeding ground of every germ known to mankind and no doubt a few that have not been discovered yet).

The flu can cost you some money though, usually sidelining you for at least a few days. Sometimes you just should use good old fashioned common sense. Ignoring the FLU will only make it worse and those two days in bed just turned into a week of misery and missing a paycheck.

The young and old are more susceptible to contracting the flu, and their symptoms and degree of the disease are quite serious, and in some cases life threatening. 

So, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Great question, and the answer is not consistent since we all have our own medical and personal reasons to consider. Getting the shot in recent years or immunizing our kids has become quite the controversy.

There are too many strains of flu to even try to put things in perspective, and we are not in the business of giving medical advice. We tend to take the FLU as just a bad cold, but quite the contrary. In the United States alone, the Center for Disease Control estimates that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year with flu like conditions. A sobering fact is that more than 36,000 people die a year due to complications.

The bottom line is consider getting a FLU shot, don’t pander to the hype of the dangers, and consult your Dr. for the best personal advice. Many companies will offer them for free, the cost to them is miniscule compared to a company epidemic that effects their bottom line.

Many places also offer free shots or discounted ones like local Pharmacies, Urgent Care Centers, and Veterans' Clinics.

If you do get the FLU, stay off the road. It’s not worth risking your health or that of your peers. Stay healthy Road Warriors and “keep on trucking”, in good health that is. The FLU season this year is now underway and ends when health officials see a significant decrease in the number of cases.

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