JUST GOT MY FIRST FLU SHOT EVER – AND HERE’S WHY

Sponsored by The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

I seriously cannot believe that it took me so many years to finally get a flu shot. If I’m honest, I never got my flu shot for two reasons: (1) fear of the long needle and (2) fear of the virus being injected in me. However, after sharing my fears with my doctor, she debunked those myths and eased my anxiety around the flu shot.

Damarqio (DK) Williams at local CVS getting his first flu shot.

My health is not just a high priority for me. As a husband and father, it is important for me to stay healthy for my family as well. I believe in leading by example and for several years, I would forgo getting the flu shot due to misinformation. Therefore, I’m so passionate about sharing with my Michigan supporters and followers about the importance of getting a flu shot, especially this year. This is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and your family from the influenza virus this flu season.

Damarqio Williams and his daughter hugging after getting their flu shots.

As we face a predicted “dark winter” with the resurgence of COVID-19, staying healthy is the top priority for my family these days. From eating healthier foods to finding ways to stay active, there are so many ways to remain healthy even in a pandemic. We understand that there are so many ways to prevent illness, and during a time when our healthcare system is already stressed, it is vital that many of us avoid preventable disease, like the flu. I honestly took my health for granted the past several years and relied on my “strong” immune system, but after learning more about the flu and how deadly it can be, I was forced to look at the bigger picture.

If you are like me, you probably believe several misconceptions about the flu and its vaccination. I want to share some critical flu-related information:

  • A flu shot cannot cause the flu
    • I can literally remember when I first heard about the flu shot, I thought that the live virus was being injected into healthy people to build up their immune system. But this is NOT the case. Now you may experience a low-grade fever, headache, and muscle aches as a side effect from the shot, but these reactions are considered less severe than the symptoms caused by the actual flu illness.
  • Flu vaccination can save children’s lives.
    • As a father of a young daughter, I had to make the decision to get her vaccinated (even though I refused to get the shot for myself). I always knew that I wanted her protected from the virus. Reflecting on this decision, I was hypocritical and should have gotten the flu shot then.
  • The flu is very serious and can be deadly
    • During the 2018-2019 flu season, there were 952 flu-related hospitalizations reported in Michigan. There were also six children flu-related deaths in Michigan last flu season. As a father this is scary to think about how the flu virus could result in death for children.
Flu fighters. Damarqio Williams and his daughter pose as sun shines in their face.

I’m so grateful to live in Michigan, a state that is taking both the flu season and COVID-19 pandemic so seriously. I realize the importance of the flu vaccination is to combat the deadly virus and vow to get my flu shot every year. By the way, it was painless. I didn’t even feel the needle as it went into my arm. Excited to hear of free flu shots sites across Michigan and many insurance providers cover the costs of the flu shot. Can’t wait for you and your family to get protected like mine. GO GET YOUR FLU SHOT TODAY! You can get more information from The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services here.

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