BHM Edit Staff | Friday, December 19, 2014
What are the five most important things people should know about the flu? We spoke to William Kellibrew, an international advocate for civil, human, children and victims’ rights, about this virus and why you should get your flu shot. This is what he told us:
1. We are all susceptible to contracting the flu virus. Everyone knows someone who has had the flu. So it is important to prevent ourselves from catching the flu. And also to prevent spreading the flu. It is a potentially serious, debilitating disease that can completely impact every aspect of our lives. Prevention is the first piece. Our lack of awareness about the impact it can have not just on our own lives, but on our family members and our community. We have to think about the broader picture here. It’s not just about me, it’s about us. It’s about we.
2. The flu vaccine, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), is really the best modern way to focus on protection. There’s so many myths about the vaccine. ‘If you get the vaccine, you get the flu.’ In the minority community, there’s such a distrust for government. Imagine going somewhere and they’re shooting you up with a needle and you don’t know what they’re giving you. It’s become a real issue. But doctors have said this time and again: If you do not get the shot, you are more at risk and vulnerable to the flu than if you get the shot. Millions of doses of flu vaccine have been administered to people safely for decades.
3. There are people who are more at risk for developing flu-related complications—young children (the CDC recommends every child above the age of 6 months receive the flu shot) up to 8 or 9 years old are vulnerable. Young children need to develop a higher immunity to the flu and complications. Their bodies need to develop more of the resistance. I’ve been speaking with parents whose child, at 7 years old, got the flu and nearly died. He went into a coma. Pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart and lung disease. People over the age of 55. Having the flu really does impact your productivity. It can completely incapacitate you. It could lead to pneumonia, hospitalization or death. Or the worsening of existing health conditions. I’m a type 2 diabetic, and it could really harm me badly. My body’s already addressing health conditions, so when the flu happens, it’s, like, I’ve gotta focus on something else now, and it all kind of falls down.