Take a shot

This is a message from some members of the staff of the Reno News & Review: It is our belief that people who did not get a flu shot before the flu season started are either willfully ignorant or cowardly. But it’s not too late. As for you who actually caught the flu because of your willfully ignorant cowardice—we pity you.

Willfully ignorant? Them’s harsh words coming from a newspaper that tends to distrust most programs administered by the government. Even this one isn’t perfect. This year, the shot is only about 70 percent effective because educated eggheads didn’t pick out all the strains of flu that hit the nation this year.

We can forgive those scientists, but we can’t forgive you people who are walking around infecting your coworkers and leaving your possibly life-threatening viruses laying around so innocent babies less than six months old—who can’t get a shot—can inhale your nasty germs. We’ll barely forgive you for making others lives harder by missing work and forcing coworkers to carry your weight.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, “It is estimated that, on average, approximately 5 percent to 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications each year. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.”

And do you know the No. 1 thing people can do to prevent dying from the flu? Not catching it. And do you know the No. 1 thing people can do to prevent catching the flu? Get vaccinated against it.

So, you screwed up, you chickened out, and now you have the flu. Stay home. Put your vector-borne ass in bed and drink fluids. Don’t even go to the doctor. Those of us big kids who did get our shot—and yes, the needles are smaller than ever before—don’t want to take the chance that you got the flu that we aren’t inoculated against. Your selfish need to take care of your family or make a deadline is irrelevant in the face of our desire for ourselves and our families to remain healthy. The doctor doesn’t typically prescribe anything for the flu anyway. If you weren’t so ignorant, you’d know flus are caused by viruses, not bacteria. So those incorrectly prescribed antibiotics are only going to make whatever bugs you do have stronger, contributing to drug-resistant strains of disease.

There are diseases that are so virulent—like the norovirus—they can withstand days of exposure and still knock your dick in the dirt. The flu, however, is a pusillanimous disease that can be wiped out with soap or hand sanitizers.

Frequently wash your hands with soap for 30 seconds, and keep your hands away from your face, and you’ll probably be all right for both catching and spreading the disgusting sickness. Reduce your alcohol consumption. Quit smoking. In fact, the only thing more pusillanimous than the flu is you, who passed up many opportunities to get the shot before supplies started running out. And yes, many stores that were out of the vaccine last week have restocked. So go get a shot after you recover. But then, people who can’t stand the momentary pinch of a flu shot would likely find the search for a shot too difficult.

No wonder we pity you.