This essay appears in today’s edition of the Fortune Brainstorm Health Daily. Get it delivered straight to your inbox.
In the movie “Rat Race,” there’s a scene where a mother (Whoopi Goldberg) and daughter (Lanei Chapman) are desperately trying to find the interstate and they stop to ask directions from a lady selling squirrels on the side of the road, ingeniously played by Kathy Bates. When the lost travelers refuse to buy a pet, the squirrel lady offers them a shortcut to the interstate…off a rocky cliff…and into a junk heap of other cars.
As mother and daughter speed to their fall, they see six hand-painted signs in a row: You. Should. Have. Bought. A. Squirrel.
I. Should. Have. Gotten. A. Flu. Shot.
Yup. Am out sick today. So I will leave this one here—except to say: Dear nation, we are near peak flu season. “Widespread influenza activity” has now been reported in 40 states, the CDC says. And while infections tend to crest anywhere between December and March, we could easily see “activity”—that’s one of those CDC words—as late as May.
So even if you haven’t yet bought a squirrel—er, been vaccinated—it’s not too late. It takes about two weeks after inoculation to get enough antibody protection to stave off an infection.
And take it from a guy who’s shivering as he types this: It’s worth it.