Battling The Crud: Getting The Flu Shot Vs. Getting The Flu
I was truly avoiding getting the flu shot this year.
After being hospitalized for a severe case of cellulitis after getting the pneumonia vaccine several years ago, I’m not the most eager person to be stuck or injected with anything (although I should qualify that I have never experienced any significant reactions from the flu vaccine).
However, I am currently working in a hospital. I take public transportation daily. And I’ve been getting the flu shot for the last 10 years.
So why tempt fate?
I went and got my flu shot two weeks ago. The next day, I felt achy in a way that is different than the pain of lupus or RA.
And it occurred to me. This is what the flu feels like. Hopefully feeling cruddy for one day means that I will avoid getting the actual flu. Because it doesn’t feel good.
And when you’re chronically ill, and in pain a lot of the time, at least I know that I forget just how bad being acutely ill can make you feel.
I know many people with autoimmune diseases question the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
One word of advice is that you, and anyone you live with, should not get the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine. Because it is a live vaccine, it is not recommended for people that are immunosuppressed (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/nasalspray.htm).
My sister wanted to get the nasal spray a few years ago, and was told by the health department that if she was frequently near someone with immune system problems, she should not get it either (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/nasalspray.htm).
I think she hated me a little for that, because she wanted to avoid a needle stick, but isn’t it my job as the older sister to make sure she doesn’t get to take the easy way out of things?
But I digress…Anyway…
I feel like unless there is some clear reason for not getting the flu vaccine, everyone should get it. Not only does it protect you, but it also protects the people around you.
And, I hate to say it, but with Ebola fears mounting, and the fact that some of the symptoms of Ebola can be similar to symptoms of the flu, you don’t want to be concerned or paranoid that you might have Ebola.
And, given all of this, it wouldn’t be my first choice to end up in the emergency room, to be a sitting duck, with a lot of other sickos, who may actually expose you to something worse than the flu.
I think it’s also important to remember that ailments such as the common cold and the flu can have a much more serious impact on those of us with immune system problems.
So again, I say that unless you have some valid reason for not getting the flu shot, it is probably best if you get it, not just for yourself, but for others, as well.
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?