Do You Get a Flu Shot?

I can’t give these little munchkins the flu!

I had an interesting experience at the doctor’s office yesterday.

I was seeing my primary care physician for an annual checkup (or, in this case, my 18-month checkup). After I checked in, a nurse steered me into an office and checked my vitals. While typing away at the computer, she asked, “Did you want to get a flu shot today?”

I wasn’t planning on it, so I declined.

Later, as the doctor was looking through my records, he also asked if I wanted to get a flu shot. Without waiting for me to answer, he described in short how it would be beneficial for me to avoid getting the flu. While he spoke, I thought, “Eh, it’s fine. It’s unlikely that I’ll get it, and if I do, I’ll get over it in a few days.”

But then he continued his line of thought, saying that the other reason to consider it is that if I have a flu shot, I significantly decrease the chances of giving the flu to people around me. People who, he pointed out, might be much more susceptible to it than me, and who might have a greater risk of really being hurt by it.

I started thinking about my friends, family, nieces and nephews, old grandmas and grandpas at the grocery store…and in the blink of an eye, my answer changed from no to yes. I can’t bear the thought of getting someone else sick. I felt a sense of duty to those people.

So I got the shot. It took 3 seconds, and I didn’t feel anything. It’s a little sore, but I’ll be back to doing pull-ups tomorrow. I don’t know the exact science behind it, but if my doctor says it reduces the chances of me getting the flu and spreading it to others, that’s a no-brainer for me.

What are your thoughts about the flu shot? Do you get it? Have you ever been more persuaded by altruism than something self-serving? I honestly can’t say that happens all the time for me, but that was definitely the case here.


17 Responses to “Do You Get a Flu Shot?”

  1. Jeff Spenner says:

    The Army makes me get a flu shot every year. I don’t have a say in the matter.

  2. Sara says:

    I tried my hand at adulting and got my first (and only) flu shot when I was 30. Here are the three possible reasons for the aftermath as I see them: 1) I had a severe adverse reaction; 2) Against the minuscule odds, I happened to get exposed to the flu, and it incubated at the same time I got the shot; or 3) they’re full of shit that you can’t get the flu from the shot.

    Y’all, I was off work and barely able to drag myself out of bed to eat and bathe for a full month. I was walking dead at work for a good two weeks after that. Eighteen yrs later, and I haven’t found anyone offering me the shot who will also offer to spot me the 6 weeks it took me to recover from how sick I got after the one shot I’ve had. If the shot can’t give you the flu – and I want to believe it can’t – then that leaves one of the others. I just can’t bring myself to risk being THAT sick again.

    When I’m sick, I stay home. I’m not one of those to stagger around work proclaiming I’m not contagious either. If I still have remnants of sniffles or a cough, I will use hand sanitizer all day long and keep to myself just to be sure.

    All that said, every single year, my mother got a flu shot, a pneumonia shot, and whatever else her doctor dictated. She would have a sore arm and a couple days of body aches and fatigue, but never had any big problems.

    I think I’ll take my chances with the flu. And shame on people who go out shopping when they’re sick! There are so many ways to get groceries, medicines, and meals delivered – there’s just no excuse for exposing people to your bugs. Same goes for going to work like you have to prove you’re sick before you take the rest of the week off. Nobody is going to think it’s the Monday flu. Even if they did – be the bigger person and keep yourself and your bugs at your house. I’ll be real mad when I catch your “allergies” and bring it home to my family.

  3. dmvp says:

    I’ve gotten the flu shot for the past 7-10 years or so. I usually wait until mid to late October so they have a better idea of what flu strain is prominent. I know it doesn’t prevent you from getting a different strain, but I’ve been happy to say I haven’t gotten the flu since I’ve gotten the shots. My biggest chance of getting the flu is at Christmas time when the extended family gets together and will still come with sick children. (we’re the closest travelers, having to drive 8.5 hours) I’m hoping to get the flu shot shortly after we fly back from Tanzania, which will be a little over a week and a half from Christmas. They don’t give flu shots here in Africa.

  4. The school I work for offers them for free to teachers. However, we find in general whoever gets them gets the flu badly. Last year I got the shot and was out for over a week and a half with the worst flu I’ve ever had. This was consistent with about half the teachers who got the shot. The teachers who did not get the shot were fine. This year I likely won’t get it, but we will see if I get the flu this year.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, Mackenzie. I didn’t know that a flu shot could cause the recipient to get the flu!

      • Sara says:

        It can’t. Even if it’s a live virus, it’s modified live. It triggers your immune system to create antibodies so it’s “practiced” and ready to fight when you’re exposed again. I got an adverse reaction, I suppose. I just don’t care to risk it again. I’m even adultier than I was when I was practicing it and got the one shot. I can’t afford to be off work that long.

  5. Nik says:

    Yep, get it every year. Even when I get the flu I’m never down for long, couple days then back to work. I get for the same reasons you mention. Keep my kids, employees, spouse, etc. from getting sick. A friend of ours mom died last year from the flu and she wasn’t very old at all. It’s a pretty serious. Some years, like last year the flu shot isn’t very effective at preventing you getting the flu, it’s just the nature of the virus, but it’s still worth getting.

  6. Jamey, I have not had a flu shot or any vaccine since 2000 when multiple army vaccines destroyed my metabolism. I started to look into what is in vaccines and according to the CDC fact sheet (linked below), there’s aluminum and formaldehyde and other surprising things. What I can tell you is that all vaccines contain a weakened form of whatever vaccine you’re getting so if you took a flu vaccine, you have that strain of the flu virus injected into your body and the idea is your body will be able to defeat it and thus learn to combat it if you are exposed to it again. They need a carrier for the virus to “live” in, thus the egg protein. The problem is the flu shot (and all vaccines) are not 100% effective (link below) and there are risks to taking them, especially for those with compromised immune systems (guess why).

    Vaccine ingredients:
    https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf

    Flu vaccine efficacy:
    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/effectiveness-studies.htm

    If you watch TV you’ll notice flu vaccine ads repeating the same bull you were fed about protecting those around you. This marketing strategy is meant to guilt you and play on your emotions so you become a consumer of their product. Doctors just repeat the marketing fed to them by their vaccine reps that sell it to their offices. If your doctor really believed that crap you would have heard it before, right?

  7. In case someone doesn’t believe there’s an inactive form of the virus in each dose, here is the link to the CDC website discussing facts about vaccines.

    https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/additives.htm

    And the excerpt from the same link, emphasis mine:
    “Chemicals are added to vaccines to ==inactivate a virus or bacteria== and stabilize the vaccine, helping to preserve the vaccine and prevent it from losing its potency over time.”

    It’s amazing that we don’t routinely question what people are trying to put into our bodies and why. People who are in positions of trust telling us that we will be bad family members, friends and spouses if we don’t take their product is too sinister for me so hopefully someone finds this information useful and gives this more thought.

  8. Joseph E. Pilkus III says:

    Jamey,

    I didn’t get it one time when I was 18 years of age and it debilitated me for nearly three weeks. Prior to joining the military and now for the past 23 years in the Air Force, it’s a mandatory part of my January drill day…haven’t missed it again.

    Cheers,
    Joe

  9. Ben says:

    I believe the scientists. I get a flu shot every year.

  10. Joseph says:

    I get it. It is offered at work for free(I’m a paramedic in SJ). Last year was a really bad flu season and I didn’t get the flu. I was exposed to it and still didn’t get it. Along with the flu shot you MUST also do the next most important thing… was your hands no matter what before touching your face.

    • Sara says:

      I’m in SJ too! I work at City Hall. I get people all around me who think they can’t call in sick unless they show up to work first looking like death warmed over. I almost never catch whatever it is – even when people seem to cycle through two or three illnesses in a season. I stay the hell away from them and usually go around wiping phones and keys to printers and doorknobs with alcohol. And yes, I wash my hands a lot. ::knock on wood:: I didn’t even get sick last year or this year. so far…

      Last time I got sick was a couple of Christmases ago when I played cards with the family along with a niece who had “allergies.” Lesson learned!

  11. Bart Barthelemy says:

    Personal anecdotes mean nothing. Long-term repeatable scientific research shows vaccines are safe and necessary for a healthy community.

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