October 3rd is Virus Appreciation Day, a day to show a little awe and deference to the nasty viruses that can wreak havoc on even the healthiest bodies. Microscopic viruses invade a living host, causing symptoms that can be mild or imperceptible, to extreme illnesses and even death. Just like a wild animal, these infectious agents should be shown respect: only through striving to understand them and their amazing abilities to invade and replicate, can we ever hope to conquer them.
Unlike Chris who rarely gets so much as the sniffles, I don’t have the strongest immune system. As a young child I had Scarlett Fever and several bouts of strep throat. As a teenager I had mono and bronchitis. Now, as an adult, I get the flu just about every year. (I did get lucky a couple of years ago when swine flu was sweeping across the country — I didn’t get sick at all. Unfortunately, my mom did and it put her out of commission for weeks.) I hate feeling sick but other than these few passing ailments I’m in good health, so I consider myself very fortunate.
Last week, during a routine visit with my primary care physician, I got this year’s flu shot. I’d never had one before (which is kind of stupid considering my history with influenza) but I figured it was an important part of my healthcare this year since we’re thinking about starting a family soon. I also felt relieved about getting the vaccine since we’ll be going on a cruise this month, and you can’t board if you’re really sick. And it was for that same reason that I suggested Chris get the flu vaccine as part of our celebration of Virus Appreciation Day, even if he is the picture of health.
Unfortunately, the only opporutniy Chris had to seek out the vaccine today was during his lunch hour and the local CVS wasn’t giving shots during that time. But we still embraced the holiday as a chance to learn about influenza. I poked around on Target’s Flu HQ website and learned a little bit about the common seasonal disease. I was surprised to find that, from 1976 to 2006, it is estimated that somewhere between 3,000 and 49,000 people died from the flu in the U.S. I knew it could be deadly, but when you see those figures its still shocking. I finished up by taking the Flu IQ Quiz while Chris filled out some paperwork so he can get the vaccine at Target this weekend.
I know a lot of people who don’t want the flu shot because it can make you feel sick for a day or so. But I’d rather feel off kilter for a day than be in bed with the flu for a week, so I’m glad we’re being proactive with our health this flu season.
Tomorrow we’re heading back to the kitchen for our favorite — Mexican food — in honor of National Taco Day!