Tuesday, January 03, 2006

It's still not too late for a flu shot!

I know this from personal experience. Twice in the past I have been prevented from getting a shot by rescheduling, forgetting or even simple neglect/procrastination in the fall. And those of us with immune disorders or chronic lung problems can still get a flu shot. I've gone as late as February.

For the past two years, my general practitioner at Guthrie Clinic in Pine City, has insisted I get a shot early and often. Well, just early. And every year influenza makes at least two runs through the paper. The typical season starts in November and goes right through April. The last two years, shots were scheduled, then cancelled, in the workplace. Both times, I followed up with innoculation at the Guthrie.

Influenza leaves an awful mark at the paper, where we are really spread too thin at the get-go. The loss of worker-days makes a huge load in those departments already understaffed. And our deadlines are absolute; there must be a paper every single day. Because I get the shot, I become the fallback who must carry the extra work nearly every time. Nice job for an MSer. Makes me feel like Superwoman. Only I'm not.

This past Christmas week I carried the work of two other people, due to vacation (use it or lose it) and illness (the flu season has started without the Gannett-sponsored clinic). Seven straight nights of overwork: I am still exhausted after two days off. It is now 2006, so I cannot use three+ days of vacation. It's just the way it's been at the paper. The use-it-or-lose-it vacationer has lost even more. We'll get over it.

Wednesday I return to what I hope will be a fully-staffed workplace. But illness isn't the only drain on our staff, and I expect at least one person, who is having personal problems, to be less than optimal. And the flu-carrier has already struck. Can't wait to see the results.

Do your family and coworkers a favor, and get a flu shot. Please.

Little Pond (Hey, head over and see our redesign!)

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