Friday, August 24, 2012

Flu Shot or No Flu Shot?



It all started with the sniffles...my son's sniffles.  Then dad got 'em, and I followed suit.  They lasted a few days and we thought that was the end of it, hurray!  But no...mom, that would be me, had to go ahead and get the full-fledged flu.  Yuk!  I was down and out, to say the least.

So now, here I am at 3:00 in the afternoon, finally able to get up a little bit, and I even snacked a bit on an apple.  Food, woot!

But now I'm sitting here thinking about the flu shot.  Do I want it, or do I not?  Everyone except my husband got it last year, and everyone got sick, several times, except my husband.  I must say though, aside from the occasional sniffles or scratchy throat, his immune system is like none I have ever seen.  He gets sick about once every five years.  For me, however, the last couple of times I've gotten the flu shot haven't really seemed to help.

I know I'm not the first person to ask the question of whether a shot for Influenza will be a benefit or not...I remember there being a big controversy over the flu shot being mandatory for some people in specific careers, and I've heard others at work and in my personal circles do the debate, but I'm still left wondering...how do you really know if it's helping or not?  And if there's a chance it's not helping, why would you want to get it?

I looked it up a bit online, and I'm still not convinced of whether I should or should not get it.  The two most interesting facts I learned were that 1).  It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to take effect (so if you do get it, the earlier the better, and 2). There are a lot of people, especially those over the age of 65, who die from the flu each year.  The last one really surprised me, so I looked it up more, and there's quite a bit of controversy about those numbers too, in the media and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  So after looking for information on the flu shot to help me make up my mind of whether or not to get it this year (for me and my family) I am just as confused as ever.

There is no doubt it is a vaccine that is touted highly by the public school system, public professionals, and doctors.  And for many things that might be enough for me, but for some reason, with the flu shot, it just isn't.  I'm still uncertain as to whether or not it's something worth getting.  And truthfully, because I've gotten as sick in the years I've gotten them, as I have in the years I haven't, I'm leaning (not decided, but leaning) towards no.

What about you?  Do you have any thoughts on it, past experiences, or facts you'd like to share?  I'm up for hearing anything flu-shot related at this point, and would love to hear what you have to say about it.

18 comments:

  1. This one is a tough one. I've never had the flu shot in my family. Why introduce something like this? Getting the flu is no picnic, but if it happens, it happens.

    We tend to take vitamin C, wash our hands, etc., to turn the tide in our favor. I can't see us ever getting the vaccine.

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    1. I loved those Vitamin C tablets when I was a kid, lol. I haven't thought of those for years. Thank you for your feedback.

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  2. I've never had the flu...or a flu shot. My husband and kids normally get them every year (my kids get the flu mist at school, but I don't know if it's ever stopped them from getting the flu. My kids have never had the flu either.

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    1. It sounds to me like you're super lucky! Is the mist mandatory or voluntary, at the school?

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  3. I'm so glad you posted this. It's my reminder to got get our shots for this year. I didn't do the flu shot thing for a few years thanks to that idiot who scared everyone years ago. When TDAP became mandatory for seventh graders, I had a long conversation with my doctor and my son's pediatrician. After those conversations I had no problems going back to a regular flu shot regimen. Unless you're allergic to eggs, I'd do it especially if you have small and school-age children.

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by (I just saw your blog for the first time yesterday, and it's AWESOME!), and thank you for sounding in!

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  4. My son and I get flu shots every year, before the onset of the rainy season. In a tropical country such as the Philippines, flu and dengue fever can be quite scary.

    As for the bitter melon on my post, it's a vegetable (more commonly known here as ampalaya) that has a very bitter taste. It takes skill to prepare and cook it so that the bitter taste won't be too distinct. :)

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    1. Thank you, Czjai, for the update on the melon (that recipe sounded good!) and your thoughts on the flu shot.

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  5. I had my kids get them when they were younger, but I don't think my son had his for the past 2 years (or maybe one) I don't think my daughter had one last year. And even if they did get it, it wasn't until December b/c that's when my daughter's bday is. I have never had one. . . . . and with that being said, I'll probably catch the flu this year!! I'm sorry I can't help you with your decision. . . . I don't think we're getting them this year, though. I think I'll try to just help out their immune system with good-for-them food.

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  6. I actually don't believe in flu shots. First, it only protects against one strain basically and if you happen to get a mutation (which is probable) it will do little to increase your immunity. Second, it can actually make you sicker! I have taken one flu shot. Three days later and for the next three weeks, the worst flu of my LIFE!

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  7. i am a big NO on the flu shot. it's actually a pretty bad idea because it just aids in the process of the flu (different strains of it) to mutate, in which flu the next can become even worse than the last. and also by the time we get the flu shot there's probably already a new strain of it out there that will not be protected from with the flu shot anyway.

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  8. I have never had one in my life. I don't think I ever will.

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  9. I dont get the flu shot each year, the last time I got it was 3 years ago and a week later I had the flu. My kids get it each year.

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  10. I appreciate the valuable personal input from everyone. Thank you!

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  11. my own experiences with the flu shot have left me with an emphatic NO for the future and have even made me question true effectiveness of other vaccines. every year that i got it i was very sick about two weeks later, then continued to get sick 4-5-6x the rest of the season. at first i thought this was due to my already poor immune system, but i started noticing a definite pattern to my getting sick. when talking to friends who got the shot (including health workers that were required to)they were seeing the same thing. the first year i did not get one i got sick twice the whole year, just mild colds. its been pretty much the same every year since. Also, a friend got Guillain-Barre syndrome from a flu shot a few years back, and watching him go through that was enough to scare me off them for good.

    things to think about are:
    1. vaccines are made out of what they are preventing, so there is always risk of your body contracting it from the vaccine.
    2. a vaccine is SUPPOSED to make you immune. the way any other vaccine works you get it ONCE, with the exception of very few which require boosters 10+ years down the road. why is the flu shot every year? because....
    3. each years batch is made out of last years strain. the strain is constantly evolving (and is different in different regions btw). which means each year's flu shot is a step behind this year's flu.
    4. the more negativity about the shot, the more they've been saying the flu shot is to LESSEN the effects and shorten the duration if you catch it so that its not life threatening. There is already OTC medication for that and the flu generally does not last more than a few days so with all the risks why not just take the medication?
    5. your body is made to fight off illness. unless you have some sort of special issue, if you are boosting your immune system (rest, water, nutrients, etc) your body will keep up.

    lastly, you know your body and you know your kids. if you're listening to your body (and theirs) you can tell pretty quickly when you get sick if its "normal" or if its something a little more serious in plenty of time to go to the doctor if necessary.

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  12. Rosey... since my daughter stayed home last year, I opted for us not to get our shots... as far as this year goes... well.. I need to do my annual research on this. Grace, peace and blessings, Carla

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  13. That question will continue for the ages as it affects health.

    I think if there is a particular strain of the influenza which would affect one's health and cause more ill effects than necessary, then people should get protection against such.

    However for the daily, regular flu, I don't think it's necessary to get a shot.
    In normal, you'd probably get the flu 3 or so times a year depending on exposure.

    So for my family. No shots. But if our health changes and it's necessary for protection, then yes.

    So you have to decide what's best for your family.

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