"Making sure I don’t become one of Texas’ influenza victims" by: Jessica Shepard

  Since Texas is now the number two state out of the top 10 with flu activity, I’m definitely carrying hand sanitizer everywhere I go. 
   I’m also looking into getting my flu shot and possibly investing in disposable face shields/masks. 
   I hate being sick out of every little pet peeve or personal preference – sickness is the absolute pits! 
   In my 30-plus years of life, I’ve only ever diagnosed with the flu once, which makes me pretty lucky. 
   Thankfully, I was in college at the time and with a simple email to my professors I was excused until I could get well. 
   The worst part about having the flu was being eight hours from home. 
   Naturally, I headed home to rest up and recuperate with a little help from mom. 
   I’d been living in the dorms at the time and it’s just not the best atmosphere for riding out the flu, or any sickness for that matter. 
   But, as I look back on the actual drive, there’s a blank space in my memory between Columbus and Bay City. 
   I remember the exit ramp at Columbus then nothing and then I’m parking in the driveway at home late at night. 
   Obviously, I managed to make it home in one piece, but, it was scary and nerve-wracking to say the least.  
   I blame the fever for that lost time, but I’m also very lucky to have made it since the whole ordeal could have been much worse. 
   Needless to say, I completely advocate for people staying off the roads and at home if they’re experiencing cold or flu symptoms. 
   Unless they’re headed to the doctor’s office or a clinic, naturally. 
   A few of my friends have been or are currently enduring the flu and I’d rather not join them. 
   The flu is a little more dangerous for me than for normal people since I have asthma. 
   According to the Center for Disease Control, sometimes asthmatics who get the flu can also end up contracting pneumonia. 
   And I’m not a real fan of that one! 
   I spent nearly a month out of school in the third grade with pneumonia and I don’t fancy dealing with it again. 
   Plus, if I get sick then I won’t be able to cover any events or focus on work. 
   Well, all of that and I’m kind of a big baby when I get sick and never want to leave my bed. 
   Here’s to hoping I can get my flu shot before running into someone infected. 
   It also reminds me of zombie apocalypse survival games, so, if I pretend just a little then I might get more motivated. 
   We’ll just have to see. 
   But, until then, I strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated and take measures to stay healthy. 


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