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Millennials get blamed for everything… including the flu

via Facebook

Millennials are blamed for everything and now the powers that be have decided that millennials are also disease vectors.

Newsweek headline warns readers, “How to Avoid the Flu: Stay Away From Millennials.” An ABC affiliate explains, “Millennials are Most Likely to Spread the Flu, According to a New Survey.”

What does this all mean? Quite simply, we aren’t predisposed to be more contagious than any other generation of flu sufferers, but we are more likely to go out in public when we’re still contagious.

According to Newsweek, “Three-quarters of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 said that the last time they had the flu or flu-like symptoms, they left the house, compared to 56 percent of people 35 and older. The top destinations for ill millennials included the grocery store, friends’ houses and restaurants.”

And according to a study by CityMD, flu-ridden millennials also go to work while contagious.

Needing groceries makes sense, as does needing work income if your job doesn’t offer paid sick time, but who wants to go to a friend’s house or out to dinner when you’re achy, feverish, and tired? This seems like a recipe for misery…and disease spreading.

A big part of the problem is that we leave ourselves vulnerable to the flu in the first place, by neglecting to get vaccinated. Last year, 52 percent of millennials didn’t plan on getting the flu shot.

When we get the flu, we’re less likely to stay home. This is generally a function of our age. Young adults still have household needs like groceries, and are least likely to be living with someone else who can run those kinds of errands. Older Americans are more likely to be living with a spouse, and younger Americans (under 18) are almost always living with a parent or relative who can be their caretaker while they heal.

Older adults are more likely to have a spouse who can take that trip to the drug store for more cough drops and tissues. Kids under 18 are most likely living at home, where Mom or Dad are running the errands. Plus, minors are extremely unlikely to have full-time jobs, so they don’t weigh the decision of whether or not to call out sick. (Staying home from school doesn’t result in a loss of household income or the use of sick leave.)

In contrast, millennials are most likely to be living in situations without someone to take care of household needs while they’re sick. In addition, we’re blessed (at least for now) with youthful immune systems. This means that, when we do get the flu, our symptoms are milder than what an elderly or pediatric flu sufferer might experience. We’re feeling better, long before we stop being contagious.

It’s patently unfair to blame an entire generation for the spread of a miserable illness, simply because its members are typically solo and independent. No one wants to get the flu, and no one wants to go to work when they feel lousy. But seriously, fellow millennials, get your flu shot this season.

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