To Flu or Not To Flu

Flu Bear
Image by  Myriams-Fotos via PixaBay

Yep! It’s that time of year again…

Fall just started so what is right around the corner?  

No, I’m not talking about Christmas.  Although doesn’t it seem like the stores are putting out xmas decorations earlier and earlier every year! Oh vey...

Anyways, if you have kids, that means it’s time to brace yourself for the flu season that is coming up.  Especially if you have them in day care or a school setting.

When I used to work in the hospital setting, this meant we were getting ready for this ourselves right about this time because “flu season” is usually between Oct-Mar time frame.

Now I know there is an ongoing debate on whether or not getting the flu vaccine actually causes you to get the flu.  Some people claim they get sick right after they get it, or they claim they still get the flu anyways, therefore, they stopped getting the shot altogether.

I’m not here to push you in any one direction but merely to share with you some of my thoughts on things to think about if you’re wondering to yourself whether or not to have you and your kids get the flu shot.

The most common reason I hear on why people don’t get the vaccine is, “I get sick anyways, so why even bother?”

But...if it is true that the flu vaccine causes you to get the flu, then wouldn’t every single person who receives the vaccine also get the flu?

What if you would have gotten sick anyways...

AND it was a mere coincidence that it happened RIGHT after getting the shot?  

Here are some possible reasons why you could still get sick after getting the flu shot:

1) You were exposed to a different flu virus strain than the one in the vaccine.  

2) You were exposed to the flu virus before or 2 weeks after the shot.  It takes about two weeks for your body to build up protection for it.

3) You could be experiencing some mild reactions to the vaccine.  According to the CDC, the most common side effects are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling and in some cases,  low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur that lasts 1-2 days.

4) Or yes, you got sick anyways but without the vaccine, the severity of the illness could have been extremely worse.  

What some people do not realize is that the flu vaccine is meant to only protect you from the top virus strains that the experts have identified is the most common ones for the current year.  

And this changes every year.

So it is impossible to know 100% which virus strain to include in the vaccine.  

But some protection based on highly educated guesses are better than no protection right?

On the flip side, I have heard people who say they never get flu shots and never get sick.  

They can count their lucky stars.

But I have been around the block long enough to know what the other side of having the flu looks like and I’ll take my chances with the shot.

If you’re a young, healthy adult, then getting the vaccine is not as critical for you (still recommended) but if you’re a young child, the elderly or someone with chronic illnesses, getting sick with the flu is more serious for these groups.

It can be quite severe and even down right life threatening.

If you do choose to opt yourself and your kids out of getting the flu vaccine though...

Do yourself and everyone else around you a favor.

Take extra precautions when it comes to being around others and be vigilant about washing hands.  

If you are near someone who has the flu, the virus can spread to you even if that person just coughs, sneezes or talks to you.

Or if you just touch a surface that has the flu virus left from someone else, and you unconsciously use your hand to touch your mouth, nose or eyes, you will contract the virus.

Then the virus will pass on from you to another person and from that person to another and so on and so forth.

With all that being said, everyone does react to things differently so you really do need to do what is best for you and your family.

Like with any other decisions you have to make for your kids when they are young, you need to weigh all the risks and benefits and ask yourself what path you would rather deal with.

If you found any of this information helpful or know someone who it could help, please share...because, "sharing is caring!" 


Source:  CDC

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm


Leave a comment