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I know there will be some naysayers to this column.

There are those out there who don't get a flu shot. Those who simply disdain all types of immunizations and I get it.

But, I always, always believe you should get a flu shot.

The Washington and Benton County Health Units, extensions of the Arkansas Department of Health, by the time you read these words, will be in the thick of their preemptive Flu Shot Clinics.

The area Senior Citizens Centers will also be holding flu shot clinics for its clientele, as they should.

Every local pharmacy will also be giving flu shots.

Yet, the flu will still, officials tell us cause deaths, even locally.

Last year (2017-2018, the reporting period) some 228 deaths from the flu occurred.

Let that sink in a little bit.

Over 200 people died from the flu.

Not all the vaccines, we are told, can fight that ever-changing virus -- which is the flu. The overall health outlook for this year's flu season is well, as always, rather hazy in its forecast.

Health officials from the federally funded U.S. Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga., to the U.S. Surgeon General, will say for ALL Americans to get a flu shot.

So will Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin as they should from the state's perspective. Often times, even disliking needles and this sort of cheesy publicity we can see photos of our elected officials getting their flu shot in hopes that will entice you to get the vaccine as well.

Locally, we will see some of the mayors like Lioneld Jordan of Fayetteville, Sonny Hudson of Prairie Grove, Ernie Penn of Farmington and John Mark Turner of Siloam Springs, in their own ways -- promote the vaccination against the flu. No one likes hearing on TV or reading in the newspaper their city has an outbreak of the flu.

School officials are next on the list promoting flu shots. We will see schools closed to the flu -- possibly -- if enough teachers and students are not given their flu shot.

If you are still unsure about getting a flu shot -- ask your local physician.

The flu is a major cause of illness during the fall and winter. It is a leading reason for missing work and often can trigger other illnesses in each of us as our immune system will be compromised by the flu.

And the flu is not just a "weekend thing," where after two- or three-days you will be up and back at work.

The 2019-2020 United States flu vaccine, the shot that agencies will be giving this year, will target four strains of the flu, officials have said. The major types of the influenza the vaccines are targeting is the Influenza A and an H3N2 type of virus that has been detected this spring, health officials say in written appeals for folks to get a flu shot.

So really, you ask, how serious is the flu?

The World Health Organization, one of the leaders in tracking and following the flu each year, says the flu is one of the Top 10 threats to global health.

So who is at risk and really needs a flu shot? Older adults and people with chronic illnesses like asthma or diabetes should get a flu shot -- even pregnant women should get a flu shot, health experts say. These classes of people are more prone to get really ill, should they contract the flu.

The Center for Disease Control says some 959,000 Americans were hospitalized from the flu or flu-related complications in 2017-2018, the last reporting year for statistics.

Get a flu shot.

And if you don't get a flu shot or want to get one, don't be offended when you get the flu -- you have to suffer.

I encouraged you to get a flu shot.

-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at maylontrice@yahoo.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 10/02/2019

Print Headline: Get your flu shot, vaccine is available, immunization works

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