I’m not talking about COVID, but the flu.
My best friend from grad school reached out to me last night because she found out her best friend died from the flu Friday. Her friend was young, healthy but got the flu, deteriorated quickly and went into cardiac arrest. While I didn’t know her friend personally I know she played a large role in my friend’s life and I am seeing the devastation this is causing my friend.
Why am I sharing this?
Because this could be anyone of us.
The flu kills, including healthy people.
Viruses kill, including healthy people.
And there are a lot floating around out there right now (flu, COVID, RSV).
Sure, most of the time it is minor in the young or the healthy.
But do you really want to gamble with your life?
Get your flu shot.
Get your COVID booster.
Wear a mask.
Wash your hands.
Avoid others when you’re sick.
I’m not sharing this to fear-monger. I definitely don’t think we should be afraid of viruses. Thanks to science we have great tools to protect ourselves, like vaccines. But I think we should be aware of the reality and the reality is that young and healthy doesn’t mean diddly-squat at the individual level when it comes to getting severe/fatal illness from viruses. That’s mostly just luck. And I really dislike that we, as a society, seem to just brush off that being young and healthy is protective enough. In many ways that applies, looking at the young and healthy as a population in response to viruses – sure, it applies, but once again it doesn’t mean diddly-squat at the individual level. And you, my friend, are an individual.
If you’d like to understand how viruses kill, especially how they can kill young, healthy people this older Scientific American article does a nice job explaining how our body responds to viruses like the flu.