The Flu

“Should I get a flu shot?”   “The flu is really bad this year”

“I am afraid of getting sick- what should I do?”

People are initiating conversations like this with me a lot these days. The media has done an excellent job of making us think our only protection from serious illness is a vaccination. I wondered out loud to my physician father “What would our country look like if we put as much effort and media coverage into the prevention of gun-inflicted injuries and death as we do into the flu?” He chuckled, as he raised his eyebrows. He worked for 35+ years at Johns Hopkins Hospital, which sees more than its fair share of gunshot wounds. Quietly, without saying much, I know he has “seen it all.” And he doesn’t seem fazed by this year’s flu any more so than any other threat to our national health. The wisdom of our elder healthcare providers is certainly one to call upon as, with each passing year, the press would like to have us think that this year’s flu is the worst to date. I would argue that it is not, but that we now have an industry that stands to profit from the fear.