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According to news reported almost daily, we are and will continue to experience flu activity in the United States at record levels. Both the CDC and the Mayors of major cities such as Boston and New York have declared public health emergencies blaming the current raging flu epidemic. We all know the symptoms of the flu: aches and pains throughout the body; blocked or runny nose; chills and cold sweats, fever, fatigue or sore throat. Most medical experts agree that the quickest and safest way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot and let the vaccine now on the market stop the epidemic spread of the flu. Sadly, as of this date, slightly more than 1/3 of our citizens got vaccinated. Since many of my friends and family are among the 2/3 that have resisted getting vaccinated, I have decided to publish the most common myths offered by people to justify their not getting vaccinated.

1. The flu shot causes the flu. Not true. The flu shot is made up of dead viruses that can't make you sick. Because the vaccine takes about two weeks before it becomes totally effective, some people may develop flulike symptoms (e.g. headache or elevated temperature). A few may develop the flu itself during this two-week period, not due to the vaccine but because it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become fully protective.

2. Prior episodes of the flu make it too late to get vaccinated. Even if you got the flu earlier in the year, you still need a flu shot to protect you from possible new and more virulent strains of the flu beyond the type of flu you had.

3. The flu shot is 100% effective. Although the vaccine is not perfect, the CDC estimates that those who got the flu shot were 62% less likely to get the flu and if they got it, they were at far lower risk of requiring medical care.

4. People who are allergic to eggs cannot get a flu shot. This is a common but totally wrong myth. You should only avoid getting a flu shot if you have a very severe allergy to eggs because current flu shots contain some of the virus grown in eggs.

5. The flu is not much worse than a bad cold. Not true. The flu can be seriously dangerous to the very young or old, pregnant mothers, people with chronic diseases such as COPD, kidney disease, diabetes). In fact over 200,000 Americans went to a hospital last year and 30,000 died from the flu.

Given the severity of the risk facing you by the flu, it is incumbent on all of us to immediately get a flu shot.

Feel free to pass this issue of the Goldhaber Warnings Report on to any friend or colleague.

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Dr. Gerald M. Goldhaber, the President of Goldhaber Research Associates, LLC, is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of Political Polling and Warning Label Research. His clients include Fortune 500 companies, as well as educational and governmental organizations. He has conducted hundreds of surveys, including political polls for candidates running for U.S Congress, Senate, and President. Dr. Goldhaber also served as a consultant to President Reagan's Private Sector Survey for Cost Control.

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