We typically think of the flu as miserable, but it is a very dangerous illness. Many people die every year from the flu, although the victims are typically the young, elderly or have immune systems that are already compromised. Working in public places with a large number of people can also increase your risk of exposure to the virus. Those who live in small spaces with others, such as in college dorms, jail or assisted living facilities also have a greater risk of contracting the flu. Overall, preventative measures, including flu shots, are critical to avoiding the flu.

My concern for my own health, as well as the health of those around me, is why I get a flu shot every year. I combine other preventative methods along with a yearly flu shot. During flu season, I wash my hands with warm water and soap more frequently. I also drink warm beverages such as hot water, tea and broth to prevent bacteria from cultivating in the back of my throat. A bacterial infection can weaken your immune system significantly and make you an easy host for the flu virus. I also try to get plenty of sleep and avoid stressful situations that I know will weaken my immune system. If I feel illness coming on, I am sure to drink lots of fluids, rest and take vitamins to try to avoid becoming sick.

The preventative costs of avoiding the flu, or any other illness, are always less than the treatment. Flu shots are quick and affordable. Many public pharmacies now offer flu shots on a walk-in basis, with little or even no waiting. Compare the cost and convenience of such a flu shot to a week or more of missed work, doctors visits and misery. Additionally, imagine if the flu virus spreads to your partner, children or other family members who live with you. When you weigh the costs in time, money and health, getting a flu shot is the right thing to do for you and the ones you love.