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It's that time of the year

This happens to be National Influenza Vaccination Week.

The timing is perfect - everywhere you go, it seems that people are sneezing, wheezing and coughing.

I know there is a need for all of us to do the above at times, but come on, let's practice a little hygiene-laced common sense.

Personally, I find it just a little bit disgusting to be out and about and have to not only listen to this triage of noises but also be physically subjected to the fallout.

Such an incident occurred over the weekend while I was running a few errands. A woman sneezed and then repeatedly coughed so loud and with such force that she could be heard halfway across this large department store.

Thank gosh I wasn't any closer than hearing range.

The comment from the lady standing next to me was "Yewh, I hope she had a tissue to cover her face."

From the sound of the blast, my bet would be she didn't.

It made me want to drop everything I had in my hand and make my way to the nearest exit.

In this day and age, when all we hear every which way we turn is how we can protect ourselves and others from rampant germs, how anyone could still act with such blatant disregard is beyond imagination.

Heck, my nine-year-old grandson knows that when he needs to sneeze or cough he should grab a tissue or use a sleeve to cover his face, and then follow through with a thorough hand washing.

Unfortunately, this whole flu situation, or whatever the malady, is only going to get worse before it gets better, with the onset of the season only at its beginning, typically not peaking until after the New Year holiday.

The moral of the story is that we all need to be reactive in being proactive and take every measure possible to keep ourselves and others as germ-free as possible just by practicing a few simple precautions.

For some, that will mean a shot of flu vaccine, of which there is more than enough to go around this year for anyone wishing to receive a dose, according to recent information released by North Dakota Department of Health officials.

On a broad scale, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone be vaccinated against the flu, especially all children ages 6 months through 18 years; alls adults ages 50 and older; residents of long-term care facilities; pregnant women; and American Indians.

Officials also reinforce that a good thing to remember is the benefits of receiving a flu shot are two-fold -- the vaccine can protect not only you, but everyone around you.

For more information about vaccine availability, people should contact their local public health unit, healthcare provider or pharmacist. For more information about influenza in general, visit