It’s not too late to get your flu shot

Near-death experience makes a believer of Seaside man

By Patti Atkins, APR
Columbia Pacific CCO

Flu started hitting hard at the end of December. Didn’t get a shot? Do it now. That’s not just sound medical advice, it’s a personal plea from a Seaside man who nearly died from flu.

“We strongly recommend you get a flu shot, even now,” says Dr. Amit Shah, chief medical officer for CareOregon. He listed three good reasons:

  • It’s a good match for two of its three viruses. You get partial protection for the third, and that’s better than none.
  • If you catch the flu, it will be a milder case.
  • If you’re an older adult or somebody with a weaker immune system, you’re less likely to be hospitalized from the flu.

Personal experience made a flu-shot believer out of one local man.  

“I used to ignore the flu warnings, like I was invincible,” says John Chapman, owner of KSWB Radio Clatsop in Seaside. “But after spending 69 days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a Portland hospital, I was told that I was the sickest man to ever leave that hospital alive.”

In October 2009, John was active, healthy and coaching the Seaside High School soccer team, in addition to his many other volunteer activities. That’s when many students at the high school started to get sick with the flu.

“It was estimated that half of the 400 students at the high school were out sick at the time,” says John. “Then I got horribly sick. My wife took me to the emergency department at the hospital, where they tried unsuccessfully to put a tube down my throat to keep me breathing. By morning, I was transported to the ICU of a Portland-area hospital, where I was in a coma for 39 days and in ICU for 69 days in total.

“I was diagnosed with H1N1 flu and as a result, four of my life-support systems shut down: respiratory, digestive, kidneys and then my heart stopped. Four times! To say that I was lucky is an understatement,” he continues. “To think that that I almost died, at least four times, because of the flu was unbelievable and I don’t take it my health for granted any longer. I get my flu shot every year. And while you’re at it, ask your doctor about the pneumonia vaccine as well.”

Flu season isn’t over! Call your primary care provider now to get your flu vaccine. It’s safe, easy and free for many people with insurance or the Oregon Health Plan.

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