Protect yourself and your wallet

September 11, 2013

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It is almost that time of year again. As the summer wraps up and the air starts to chill, it is important to keep in mind what is right around the corner, the flu season. While you may feel queasy with just the thought, now is the time to start thinking about getting this year's flu vaccine. Protecting yourself against the virus now, will help lower your health costs in the future. And by health costs, I do not mean just paying to see a doctor if you do catch the flu. The cost of the flu goes beyond just the monetary value. 

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), every year more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from the flu, including an average of 20,000 children younger than 5 years of age. By getting vaccinated, you are not only protecting yourself but also young children who are more susceptible to the flu. Among the healthy adults, vaccines are about 70-90% effective for reducing the influenza infection rate. On a personal level, you are also saving yourself a lot of time and hassle with getting the vaccine. Imagine being out of work or not being able to go classes, if you came down with the flu. It would most likely hurt your paycheck and grades to be out sick for even a few days, never mind if you were to be hospitalized. 

From an economic standpoint, The World Health Organization estimates that the flu virus costs the United States between $71-167 billion each year. This is from hospital admissions, other health care provider costs, and lost productivity in the work force. By getting vaccinated, you can help cut these costs with less hospital visits for yourself and also the others you may have protected by getting vaccinated. To learn more about the virus, vaccine, and the costs associated, check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization's websites. 

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I just debated about this topic in one of my classes! There are many different opinions about the flu vaccine. There are so many different strains of the flu that its hard to determine if the vaccine is actually effective. 

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