As the holidays approach and the year ends, a lot of people are looking for ways to give back, whether it’s gifts to loved ones or donations to their favorite charity (and of course we hope you’ll support the American Cancer Society).
But there’s another way to give; a way to help people with cancer and others stay healthy as winter approaches: By getting your flu shot.
Last year, most of the people who got flu shots (and only about half of us did) likely did it for a personal reason: to avoid getting flu. But there’s another, altruistic aspect to vaccination that is equally, or perhaps even more important.
Because the vaccine is not perfect, increasing the population of people who get vaccinated is a key part of protection, thanks to something called herd immunity.
People undergoing treatment for cancer as well as others whose immune systems may be compromised may not get as good a response to the vaccine, so it is especially important that those around them –including but not limited to families, loved ones, friends, co-workers, and health professionals– be vaccinated to reduce the risk of spreading the flu to cancer patients and other vulnerable populations. Also vulnerable are pregnant women, older people, young children, and others with chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes.
You can protect not only yourself but others by getting vaccinated, reducing the chances of flu spreading to these vulnerable populations. It’s a potentially lifesaving gift at a time when many of us are looking for ways to give back.
Visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/find-pay-vaccines.html to find and learn how to pay for a vaccine.