Nurse Amanda Catherine Bitz doesn't hold back when it comes to spitting hard and fast facts about vaccines. Recently, she shared a poignant post on Facebook that will make you think twice about skipping out on your flu shot this year, underscoring how getting immunized goes beyond your own physical well-being.
"The flu shot is for influenza, a severe respiratory illness that can lead to death," she wrote. "Have you ever had it? I have, and it's awful. You spike fevers, every bone and muscle in your body aches, and no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to catch your breath. You get the flu shot not always for you, but for those around you."
Rather than leaving it at that, Amanda clarified exactly what she meant, and honestly, it's really hard to argue with her logic. Here's who we are getting the flu shot for:
For the grandparents, whose bodies are not what they used to be, and they just can't kick an illness in the butt like when they were young.
For the 30 year old, with HIV or AIDS, who has a weakened immune system.
For the 25-year-old mother of three who has cancer. She has absolutely zero immune system because of chemotherapy.
For the newborn baby who was just welcomed into the world, and isn't quite strong enough to fight off infections on his own.
For the nurses and doctors who take care of you. If they get sick, they can't go to work and take care of the countless patients that need them.
For the 50-year-old husband who needs a medication for his chronic illness, and that medication also weakens his immune system.
For the pregnant mom who has been trying to get pregnant for years, and now she's trying to stay healthy for her unborn baby.
For the single dad who can't take any more sick days and needs to provide for his kids.
For the 7-year-old boy that just wants to play with his friends. But he has a disease that puts him at a higher risk for infection, so he has to stay inside.
Although we might not always consider it, there's truly a lot more that goes into getting vaccinated than we initially think. "The flu shot is NOT always about you. It's about protecting those around you, who cannot always protect themselves," Amanda explained, and she's seen it firsthand. "I have been in the room as a patient has passed away because of influenza. I have watched patients struggle to breathe because of influenza. I have busted my butt to provide Tylenol, warm blankets, nebulizers, etc. to keep that patient comfortable and fighting a terrible respiratory infection."
At the end of the day, Amanda wants healthy people to count their blessings because not everyone's in the same boat. "Herd immunity is a thing," she said. "Influenza killing people is a thing. You getting the flu shot, should be a thing."