State Senator Sherri Buffington was one of many state officials who rolled up their sleeves today to help the Department of Health and Hospitals launch its annual Fight the Flu campaign.  

The theme this year is "You'll be Thankful You Got Your Flu Shot." The idea is to get as many people as possible vaccinated before the holidays.

Local Office of Public Health Medical Director Martha White says it's important to get a flu shot because it doesn't just protect you -- it also protects everybody around you. And Dr. White says, even though the weather has turned colder, it's not too late to get your flu shot.  Besides, she says, it still takes about two weeks after you get the shot for it to be totally effective.

On top of that, Dr. White says it's important to get a flu shot every year because the flu virus is intelligent.  It's constantly changing and mutating, so the flu shot you got last year may not protect you from the strain that's floating around this year.

Getting a flu shot only takes a few minutes and it's totally painless if you'll just relax your arm and forget about what's happening around you.  I can say that from personal experience because I grew up in an Air Force family and spent time in the Air Force myself while I traveled around the world.  I got a whole lot of shots over all of those years and I can truthfully tell you that the more you relax your arm and the less you think about what's happening around you, the better the experience you're going to have.  I can say that because I've even been given shots while I was talking on the air and didn't event know that it had been done because I was relaxed and thinking about other things at the time.

If you tense up and flex your arm, it's probably going to hurt and/or you're going to have some after-shot side effects.  However, if you totally relax your arm and forget about what's happening around you, chances are pretty good that you won't even feel the shot and you'll have no after-effects from it.  (Your mileage may vary, but that's been my experience in the past!)

BlackBerry photo by John Lee