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Danae Hendrickson works at The Brew in Dickinson in this undated photo. She and her husband, Lucas, don't intend to get flu shots.

Fending off the flu - shot

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Danae Hendrickson and her husband, Lucas, vowed on their wedding day that they would stay by each other's side in sickness and in health.

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The Dickinson couple may have to put the "in sickness" part of their promise to the test this flu season, as they plan to remain flu vaccine-free, even if it could make them less susceptible to the virus.

"My parents were never too keen on getting shots and I guess I carried that idea into adulthood," 20-year-old Danae said.

She said she's been lucky that the flu has never caused her to be bedridden.

"I guess that probably has something to do with why I don't get a shot each year," Danae said. "It doesn't seem necessary to go out and get the vaccine since it's never been a problem for me. I guess that getting the vaccine is just never been something I've put much thought in to."

Lucas, 21, said he could only remember rolling up his sleeves once to get a flu shot when he was about junior-high age.

But Lucas said he isn't too worried about developing the flu, even though his age does make him a recommended candidate for a flu shot.

After a H1N1 outbreak a few years ago, Sherry Adams, executive director of the Southwestern District Health Unit and chairwoman for the Southwest Regional Influenza Coalition, said everyone 6 months and older is encouraged to get the flu vaccine.

Adams said there are no documented cases of the flu this season in North Dakota.

But as a victim of the 1968 Hong Kong flu, Adams is a huge supporter of flu vaccinations.

"You just feel sick and miserable with the flu and the shot is nothing compared to that," she said. "But if someone does not want to get the flu shot, they should stay home when they're sick. The simple task of washing your hands for 20 seconds is huge in preventing flu, and it helps to not touch your face, where germs can spread. It's always a good idea, too, to maintain healthy habits, like regular exercise and eating well to help boost your immune system. None of it will guarantee that you won't get the flu, but it can't hurt either."

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