By Robert Lake
Every year in the United States more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and about 36,000 people die from flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Some people – older people, young children and people with certain health conditions – are at high risk for serious flu complications. Getting the flu is not only a miserable experience; it can also lead to down time, hospitalization and even death.
Influenza (the flu) is easily spread from driver to driver, especially in the close quarters of restaurants and truckstops. A driver is exposed to the flu virus when he comes in contact with airborne respiratory droplets caused by coughing and sneezing. Drivers can infect others even before they develop the first symptoms and up to five days after becoming sick.
The scary part is how easily the flu virus can pass around the country as professional drivers come in contact with each other. Some statistics show that one driver can infect up to 100 others in one day.
Dr. John McElligott, medical director of Professional Driver’s Medical Depot, says the best way to prevent this illness is by getting the flu shot – something that’s not easy for a driver with a busy, long-distance schedule. That’s why the medical team at PDMD devoted the time and resources to provide more than 7,000 free flu shots to professional drivers.
PDMD, along with Truckers News, Petro Stopping Centers, XM Radio’s Dave Nemo, Purdy Bro’s Trucking, London County Trucking and Strat 6, sponsored the annual free flu shots in November at the Petro Stopping Centers in Knoxville, Tenn. Drivers appreciated the opportunity to get the free shot at a convenient location.
The “flu-shot” is an inactive vaccine containing the dead virus and is given as an injection. It’s approved for use in people over 6 months of age and includes healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
If you would rather take the risk, remember that the flu can cause complications that include developing bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, worsening of medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and emphysema.
Ask your doctor or check with your company to schedule your flu shot. Getting the flu is nothing to sneeze at!