Photo credit: Cpl. Jackeline Perez Rivera / Wikimedia
Photo credit: Cpl. Jackeline Perez Rivera / Wikimedia

Every year I write a post in the late summer letting you know that flu season is approaching and to get a flu shot. I try to keep my posts informative and evidence-based, but I don’t have anything new to tell you about that.

Actually, I do have one bit of news. Some of you may have heard of FluMist, the flu vaccine given by nasal spray. It’s especially popular with children and with patients with needle phobias because it’s not injected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks the effectiveness of flu vaccines every flu season. In the 2015-2016 season FluMist offered essentially no protection against the flu, and this followed the previous two seasons in which its effectiveness was much lower than expected. So the CDC is recommending against using FluMist during the 2016-2017 flu season. That’s bad news for patients who might have difficulty receiving injections.

If you want to know which groups of people should have the flu shot and which groups should avoid the flu shot, see my post in 2012. If you’re over 6 months old, you should probably have one. If you want to read my responses to frequently raised objections to the flu shot, see my post from last year.

So, since I’m out of evidence-based information about the flu shot, I present my uninformative and evidence-free top ten reasons to get your flu shot.

10. How else will you be able to spend more time with a friendly medical assistant?
9. The CDC wants you to.
8. Your mother wants you to.
7. If you get sick, you’ll infect Uncle Irving at Thanksgiving, upsetting your mother.
6. Having a needle stuck in your deltoid is fun!
5. If you take more sick days, your boss will forget who you are.
4. It’s easier than wearing a HazMat suit every time you ride the bus.
3. Dave Barry’s article about the Martian Death Flu terrified you.
2. If you don’t, the week of high fever, body aches, and cough will pale next to the months of regret.

And the number one reason to get a flu shot: It will briefly distract you from the election.

Our shipment of flu shots came in this week. Please make an appointment to get yours.

Learn more:

FAQ: Flu Vaccines & Preventing Flu Illness (CDC)
ACIP votes down use of LAIV for 2016-2017 flu season (CDC)
The ‘Martian Death Flu’ (Dave Barry, 1986)