FLU SEASON: Shirley a strong advocate for getting flu shots

Published 1:11 am Thursday, October 10, 2019

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

If you don’t believe that, just ask James Shirley of Troy.

Shirley has never had any of the childhood diseases.

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He has not run a hot fever with the big red measles nor scratched his skin off with the chicken pox. He has not coughed day and night with the whooping cough or puffed up with the mumps.

Not that Shirley is old enough to have been exposed to any of those childhood diseases but he is a strong believer in getting vaccinated against any communicable disease when the opportunity arises.

For nearly 20 years, Shirley has been at the front of the line when flu seasons comes around.

And, at just the first thought of the upcoming flu season, he rushes through the door of Pike Internal Medicine with his sleeve rolled up.

“If you want to stay well, and I do, then you need to get a flu shot,” Shirley said. “The shot stings a little but then it’s over. The flu makes you real sick and it takes a long time to get over it. I don’t want to be sick and I don’t want to miss work. So, I try to stay well.”

For several years now, Shirley has been the first in line to get a flu shot at Pike Internal Medicine.

“They don’t have to remind me,” he said with a smile. “When I was in college in Florida in 2002, I decided the best way to stay well during flu season was to get the flu shot. And, that’s what I tell everybody, ‘Stay well; get your flu shot.’”

Shirley is a walking, talking billboard that heralds the importance of the flu shot.

And, Dr. Mickey DiChiara, Pike Internal Medicine, said it is not wise to downplay the importance of a flu shot.

“The flu shot is the single best way to avoid getting the flu,” DiChiara said. “The flu isn’t just a bad cold. It’s a serious disease, especially for infants, young children, adults ages 65 and older and people with certain chronic health conditions, including asthma, heart disease or diabetes that can lead to hospitalization and even death, according to the Center for Disease Control.”

According to the CDC, the single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.
There are also flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent the flu.

To protect yourself and others from flu and stop the spread of germs the CAC’s advice is to avoid close contact with people who are sick, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Practice good health habits including disinfecting surfaces at home, work and school. Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food.