Thursday, October 23, 2008

tft: flu shots

Hey, look at me! Back on the TFT wagon! It's been awhile, huh?!

Do you guys get flu shots?
I've only ever gotten one; it was about 8 years ago and I was teaching (preschool-- so double germy from regular school) and I let the peer pressure get to me and I went and got a shot. Now, I was not usually one to get sick... I've had a couple of cases of strep in my life and a handful of colds or stomach flu bouts worth complaining about, but really no big deal. Even when teaching, with a classroom full of snotty 2 year olds crawling all over me, I think I had a pretty impressive immune system.

And then that year I decided to get a flu shot, just to be extra immune??... I was sicker that year than I ever have been. I have no idea if that is simply a coincidence or not, but I probably don't have to tell you I haven't had another flu shot since.

I don't give my kids flu shots either. Call me stupid, but I just don't see them as a necessity. I guess it's just cuz my kids are not big sickies... sure they come down with colds and even a bit of "the throw-ups" now and then, but all in all they're pretty healthy kids. Normally just because one person is sick in our house, doesn't mean everyone else will get it, and when we are sick, we tend to get over it pretty quick. I think we're blessed with pretty good immune systems.

Sawyer had one flu shot when he was already in the office for his first year check-up... but I never went back for the second dose. Other than that my kids have been flu shot free.
Besides, the whole too many shots thing makes me nervous. We did nothing to deviate from the recommended AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) infant immunization schedule, but I did keep note of what my kids were getting (ingredients) and when. Especially my son. That's why I'm just not comfortable with "needing" another shot. I know it seems more harmless... "just" a flu shot, but those are the shots that still contain the thimerosol.

I'd rather just let them fight off little colds and stomach flus and if it ever turns into something more... well, then we'll deal with it.

The thing is, sometimes I feel guilty about it. Like it looks like I'm a lazy or unconcerned parent because I don't take them right in for the shots every year. Heck, some preschools now are even trying to make it a mandatory immunization for attendance in their schools.

So what about you guys? Do you adults get flu shots every year? Do you make sure your kids are vaccinated to help make it through flu season? Do you think it helps? Hurts??
What are your thoughts this Thursday??


Michelle Leigh said...

Well, I've gotten the flu shot once. I never really get the actual flu. I get the stomach flu every so often and of course colds, but not the flu. I'm sure someday I will and I'll regret not getting the shot, but the chances of tetting it are pretty slim.

As for my kids, I do vaccinate. I think the flu risks outweigh the other risks. I really don't feel like dealing with 3 sick kids either. Doesn't sound like a good 7-10 days, probably more. That being said, we don't really get sick around here either. I'm sure saying that will bite me in the ass, but I'll take my chances. Annika was a sick baby, after she turned 6 months, she got EVERYTHING she could have gotten. Then at 10 months we got tubes and since then she's been super healthy. Bianca has had UTI's but other than a couple mild ear infections, nothing. And Bennett, well he's still young.

As far as vacc. I don't know if I really buy all the hype. There is no conclusive evidence to the connection between shots and vaccines, but like you, I keep track of what they are getting and when. My doctor knows my concerns and wishes, and she spaces them out for me. It's as simple as that.

Good topic!

Jennette said...

I would only get one if my immune system was compromised in some way and a doctor told me I needed one. But I'm a very healthy adult and rarely get the flu. I don't have kids, so I can't speak to that decision.

Christina Tolomei said...

I always get the flu shot, although I'm in that category of people that they highly reccommend getting it anyway, since I'm asthmatic. I also happen to be pregnant and my immune system is not what it usually is when I'm without child. I also have my kids get flu shots for three reasons, to hopefully keep them from getting the flu, because they are my children and could be more susceptible to breathing problems, but also so that they don't get it and pass it on to me. My asthma has acted up lately just from a common cold, so the flu definetly makes it worse.
Last year was the first time that I got a flu shot early on in the Fall, and then in January became sick with the flu. Apparently the flu shot wasn't a good match to the flu that was going around last year. I ended up being rushed to the hospital by my brother with my kids in tow because I was having an asthma attack and hyperventaliting. It was scary. Needless to say, I hope this year's strain is a good match.

Anonymous said...

I've never gotten one. Max got one last year (and the follow-up booster), I'm undecided as to if we'll get it at his next appointment.

Like Christina said, the shot last year wasn't a good match to the flu that was going around, apparently. That kind of speaks to what both my husband and I think about flu shots - which is, that the flu is only going to get stronger and mutate to something a little bit different that the vaccine doesn't cover. Maybe that's totally dumb, but I have read about those really horrible drug-resistant staph infections recently - that the germ keeps involving into strains that are resistant to even more antibiotics... and I feel the same way about the flu. Kind of scares me, and I guess there's really no good solution.

Anonymous said...

I've gotten a flu shot for probably the last seven years or so, ever since I started working in the schools with all the snotty-nosed germy kids! I've also never gotten the flu, and I rarely get sick, aside from the occasional run of the mill cold. Ryan did get the flu shot last year, and the whole fam will be getting one again this year.

annie said...

p/s when we do get sick, it seems like we can catch it early with fruits/veggies mainly "cleanse" and b/c my kids have been allowed to build up good immunity, the infections/colds/fevers/whatever leave their systems within a couple of days. It's awesome!

annie said...

No way! Don't feel bad about it at all - I think the kids will be better for it - your kids obviously have good immune systems and seem to fight off colds pretty quickly as is. Personally I think we intervene far too often and don't give our bodies enough credit to build up good immunities. I've gotten the flu both winters I rec'd the shot within the last 5-10 years. I know there are people who disa gree with me, but I just want you to feel fine about choosing not to. :)

annie said... comment order got switched!

kimca01 said...

We do - Morgan is high risk so we all have to have them. Although we end up in the ER every year anyway with him so I guess it really doesn't matter! When he gets sick, he gets really, really sick and it scares me - let's hope this is the year we are ER free!

Callie will be getting one after she is 6 months because Morgan goes to daycare and she's so young. He brings home every imaginable germ which isn't a bad thing, it will build up her immunity but little ones sick also scare me!

Robyn said...

never had one and I don't plan on giving my daughter one either.

Amanda said...

Yup. We all get flu them yesterday. I've had the dreaded influenza (one of the really bad strains) and was so sick I wanted to die. (seriously) I vowed from then on we all would get the shot. I haven't gotten that sick since.

jessica said...

I have gotten the flu shot a few times, mostly because I'm in the doctor's office for a yearly checkup or pregnant.

John gets it at work for free in a clinic of some sort, so he usually does it.

They've done it at the kids school a few times, so they've gone ahead and gotten it then.

But I've never had the really bad flu. One of your commenters said they had, and that changed her ways. That's probably what it would take for me too. We get our rounds of sick, but I just don't like to get shots and make appointments. We aren't in any high risk categories right now either.

Dr. 47713 said...

Hey, I'm glad to hear many of the people who reply not bashing least the scheduled ones. There is a lot of media and celebrity attention to vaccinations without any scientific basis for the claims. AND immunizations have been tracked pretty well, but I'm sure we will learn more in the next 10 years. We follow the reccommended schedule, in addition to Hep B and influenza.

I would say don't feel bad about not giving or getting the flu vaccination even though we get it.

The flu vaccine won't keep you or your kids from getting sick/colds. It helps protect again the few likely strains of influenza expected to be around during that year. And based on history and many infectious disease specialists opinions, a flu pandemic will be terrible and there's probably not much you or I can do about it. The vaccine may or may-not help you and your family and all of society that year.

Also, I am not an ignorant scientist pushing vaccines, because they don't have any risk. I have seen bad side effects from all vaccines, with two specific cases at Vanderbilt of young, healthy adults (military men) have a known but very rare, serious side effects mentioned on the hand-out that the doctor gives you.

I still recommend vaccination...

patty said...

I have never had the flu shot and I never get sick(i don't have time to get sick). I did have Grace get the shot on Dr. recommendation her first year because she had rsv already that year and he thought it best but the other four have never had one and they very healthy. It always seems there is a shortage and they should be saved for the high risk people so I would feel guilty for taking that away from someone who needed it.

jane said...

I never used to get them either b/c like you my family and I are very healthy and tend not to get sick very much. That was until a doctor I call on told me that even if you don't get the flu you can be a carrier and pass it on to other people. I am in and out of offices all day being exposed to God knows what so now I get one every year so that I don't give it to anyone else. That is my two cents!

LeeAnn Howard said...

We just started to get them in the fast 4 years or so. Mostly because I work in the hospital around sick people and Tony working in the schools, which can include sick kids. We have decided to just get the shots and protect us from spreading things around to each other and bringing something like that home. Lukas just got his 3rd flu shot today for his 3 ear checkup. Since we have been getting the flu shots, we haven't been sick with the flu. Ive read that the flu shot doesn't actually prevent the flu, but might make the flu a weaker one when you get it and prevent hospitalization. We have flu shots for the hospital employees free next week and within the flyer it said that of the number of patients that come into the hospital with the flu, 85% of them did not get the flu vaccine. So with that statistic, I'm guessing they got the worse of the flu as compared to those with the flu shots. But it wasn't up until we started working in our professions that we would get the flu shots. I just think we are more exposed to people that would carry it and want to protect ourselves more. :) Great topic too!

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