I never used to get a flu shot. I am relatively healthy and rarely miss work or play due to illness. I’ve never had never had the flu, so why bother? Things changed when my son developed asthma and his father was diagnosed with diabetes. They both fell into the higher risk categories for complications if they caught the flu. Suddenly, having the flu was no longer solely about me and my health. If I continued to remain unimmunized I would be a threat to my family.
What I now see is that my family members aren’t the only people threatened by me skipping out on a low cost, simple and accessible preventative measure. My entire community is affected by my behavior. We are all connected and we can all do something to contribute to the overall well being of our community. Our individual behavior collectively adds to whether we have a sustainable and healthy community or not. A flu shot is just one way to lessen the effects of disease within our community.
Here at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, we help people make changes today that will elicit a better outcome tomorrow. We provide screenings for early identification of disease that allows for earlier and, likely, less expensive, shorter and more effective treatments. We advocate for proactive policies that encourage better access to foods like fruits and vegetables and restrict access to unhealthy substances like tobacco.
We cannot do this work alone. An isolated flu shot doesn’t protect our community yet many individual flu shots totaled can transform our health. Today, we all have an opportunity to start shaping a healthier tomorrow. Perhaps we could all take some time for a walk, add some fresh fruit and vegetables to a few meals and turn the TV’s off a few minutes earlier. These behaviors all contribute to a healthier tomorrow. Add a flu shot and you will be starting out on the path to a winter season that can prevent disease and help your friends and neighbors stay well. Help us create a community that doesn’t give disease a chance to start.