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Thank you for giving front-page attention last week to the need for flu shots (“Flu shot needed, not silence,” editorial, Jan. 15). The importance of getting a flu shot cannot be overstated. Several people in the Toledo area have died from the flu this season.
The best line of defense is a flu vaccine, and time is of the essence. The flu season usually peaks in January or February, so people who have not yet received the vaccine should do so now.
As a physician, I hear all types of reasons why people avoid getting a flu shot. Some say they are healthy and have a strong immune system, so they don’t need one. That’s not true. Healthy people with strong immune systems benefit from a flu shot.
Others believe the vaccine will cause the flu, but this also is a common misconception. Immediately after receiving the shot, a person may have a few flu-like symptoms, such as a low-grade fever or a headache. But that’s just the body responding to the vaccine to build up its defenses for the real thing.
I remind your readers that it’s not too late to get a flu shot and would urge them to do so. People who refuse to get the vaccine and end up getting the flu might miss a few days of work, at best. At worst, as we’ve seen, unfortunately, it can prove to be a deadly mistake.
DR. RANDY WEXLER
Vice Chairman of Clinical Affairs Family Medicine Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Columbus