Nurse Goes Viral to Remind Us of This Great Vaccine Truth: 'The Flu Shot Is NOT Always About You'
The viral post makes a powerful case that getting the flu shot is "about protecting those around you, who cannot always protect themselves."
It's officially fall, and therefore, time to get serious about getting your flu shot. After all, flu activity picks up in October, and peaks between December and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most parents, educators, and pediatricians are acutely aware of this fact, considering that children are most likely to get sick from the flu, according to a 2018 CDC study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Others who are at greater risk for complications from the flu include people with diabetes, pregnant women, adults over 65, children under five, those with asthma and other chronic lung diseases, those with kidney and liver disorders, heart disease patients, and those with compromised immune systems.
It's for the sake of all of these vulnerable groups that the wider population should get their flu shot. And that's a point that a nurse named Amanda Catherine Bitz drove home in a powerful, <a href="
post shared to Facebook on Monday, October 7.
Bitz had previously shared another post that said, "Hey A**hole, the flu shot isn't about you." In this follow-up, she chose to elaborate.
"The flu shot is for Influenza, a severe respiratory illness that can lead to death," Bitz wrote. "Have you ever had it? I have, and it's awful. You spike fevers, every bone and muscle in your body aches, and no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to catch your breath. You get the flu shot not always for you, but for those around you."
She elaborated that you get it "for the grandparents, whose bodies are not what they used to be, and they just can't kick an illness in the butt like when they were young. For the 30 year old, with HIV or AIDS, who has a weakened immune system. For the 25-year-old mother of 3 who has cancer. She has absolutely zero immune system because of chemotherapy."
Bitz continued that it is "for the newborn baby who was just welcomed into the world, and isn't quite strong enough to fight off infections on his own. For the nurses and doctors that take care of you. If they get sick, they can't go to work and take care of the countless patients that need them. For the 50-year-old husband who needs a medication for his chronic illness, and that medication also weakens his immune system."
It's also "for the pregnant mom that has been trying to get pregnant for years, and now she's trying to stay healthy for her unborn baby. For the single dad who can't take any more sick days and needs to provide for his kids. For the 7-year-old boy that just wants to play with his friends. But he has a disease that puts him at a higher risk for infection, so he has to stay inside."
The nurse continued, making a powerful case that the flu shot is "about protecting those around you, who cannot always protect themselves."
She revealed, "I have been in the room as a patient has passed away, because of influenza. I have watched patients struggle to breathe, because of influenza. I have busted my butt to provide tylenol, warm blankets, nebulizers, etc. to keep that patient comfortable and fighting a terrible respiratory infection."
The bottom liner: "Herd immunity is a thing. Influenza killing people is a thing. You getting the flu shot, should be a thing."
Since Bitz shared the post, it has wracked up over 61K reactions, 5.6K comments, and 91K shares.
The nurse's powerful argument couldn't be more timely, given that last season, just 45.3% of adults 18 and older received flu vaccinations, according to the CDC. (The rate was higher among children 6 months through 17 years: 62.6%.) But another recent study found that roughly two-thirds of pregnant women in the U.S. aren't getting vaccinated against the flu, which puts them and their infants at risk.
In other words, there's no better time for health care providers, parents, school districts—and, really, anyone who wants to lend their voice to the cause—to urge others to get the shot. As Nurse Bitz points out, guarding against the virus is a step anyone can take for the greater good.