The most recent FluView report for the 2014-2015 flu season shows that flu season is beginning in the United States. There are reports of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths, and activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks.
CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. There are documented benefits from flu vaccination, including reductions in illnesses, related doctors' visits and missed work or school. Vaccination also prevents flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. While some of the viruses spreading this season are different from what is in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.
If you have not been vaccinated yet this season, get your flu vaccine now.
That's what the CDC says. But The Dallas Morning News didn't ask the CDC. They didn't ask local doctors or health experts. Instead, they asked area readers for their advice about the flu. The result is kind of like a typical online comments section.
After the jump, The Dallas Morning News readers' wisdom that the News passes on without fact-checking.
Far North Dallas resident ████ ████████ says the flu isn't worth worrying about until there's a global pandemic. He will "worry about the flu when it reaches the numbers that took my grandmother in 1917." [Note to DMN: ask this reader when his grandmother started worrying. If there is another flu pandemic and he's among the first victims, wouldn't that be too late for him to start worrying?]
Far North Dallas resident █████ ███████ says, "Personally, I'm not that concerned. I've only had the flu twice in my entire life and I'm not willy-nilly taking a vaccine for something I don't seem to get." [Note to DMN: assuming this reader hasn't had car accidents more than twice in her entire life, ask her whether she's not willy-nilly wearing seat belts, either.]
Far North Dallas resident ████████ ████ says, "I have never gotten a flu shot and do not intend to get one. I'm over 60, in great health, and I try to eat mostly organic or home grown." [Note to DMN: ask this reader if she knows that healthy people who eat organic foods can catch the flu if someone with the flu sneezes in her presence (e.g., see this: "Teen's death shows horror of flu epidemic").]
Far North Dallas resident █████ ███████ says, "I do not plan to be vaccinated for the flu this year and have never had the flu shot. From what I've read, flu vaccines are not very effective, because the strain they are combating is always last year's strain, which is generally not the same this year." [Note to DMN: maybe this women is getting her information from reading the DMN. You could do a great service to the community if you published more statements from the CDC and fewer statements from people like her.]
Looking over the comments above, I notice that they are all from Far North Dallas residents. None of the comments from Richardson or Lake Highlands residents repeated fallacies or misconceptions. Whatever is responsible for this, good for those communities.
Forewarned is forearmed. The only effective way to minimize worry is to do what the CDC recommends: get your flu vaccine now.