08 February 2013

On Flu Shots

Apparently it's a bad year for influenza. In addition to that there are a few cold viruses and some stomach bugs making the rounds.

I got the flu my freshman year of college. It was awful. After getting over the flu I was hit with a sinus infection that wouldn't quit (three rounds of antibiotics before it was finally finished), I developed bronchiolitis, (just a step before pneumonia), and I had a horrible cough that lasted until spring. (This was a long time considering I got the flu in mid-November.) Let me tell you, it was rough.

Did I learn my lesson? No. I didn't get a flu shot in any subsequent years (until 2009), always taking my chances and hoping the flu wouldn't catch up to me. It did finally catch up to me in February 2008, but it wasn't nearly as bad as 2003. In flu seasons since then I've always been pregnant or been thinking about getting pregnant, so I've been sure to get the shot.

Ike gets the shot because he's got asthma, and I'm confident that if he developed the flu he it would wreak havoc on the kid, and he'd probably develop a never-ending hacking cough. (If he gets a cough that lasts weeks and weeks just from having one little cold, I don't want to think of what the flu would do to him.) Eric also gets the flu shot because I make him. Plus, we have an un-immunized baby in this house (too young for the flu shot), and I'm not about to let Eric bring the flu home to that little guy.

Sadly, Felix had a pretty nasty cold last week. He is over it now, but there were a few days when he lost his voice, and a few days when the mucous in his throat was so bad that he coughed until he vomited. It was not awesome. It wasn't really a severe cold, but it lasted longer than I would have liked.

Several weeks ago at church somebody told us that his whole family had come down with the flu that week, one by one. When I asked if they are against the flu shot, he said they weren't, but they hadn't had time to get it yet, and now they were paying for it. A friend chimed in that she doesn't bother with the flu shot. Of course, I had to prod.

She isn't one of those anti-immunization crazy nuts (Yes, that is what I think of you if you think immunizations cause autism), but she just doesn't do the flu shot. She had a few reasons - first, she has gotten the flu at least twice, despite having had the flu shot. I prodded her on this. Was she sure it was influenza and not a stomach bug that she called the flu? And yes, it was true influenza as verified by the doctor. Not only that, but at least one of the times it was the strain that she had been vaccinated against. Additionally, she and her entire family were lucky enough to get H1N1 (swine flu) a few years ago. Apparently people who got that virus have stronger immunity against the flu now. None of them have asthma or other breathing conditions, and when they last had the flu it wasn't too bad on them. So for her and her family, she would just assume get the illness if it hits them.

It's not a risk I'm willing to take. I have asthma, and so does Ike. Sure, we might still get the flu despite being vaccinated, but the odds are in our favor.

Meanwhile, I've decided to keep Felix home from church for a few weeks. Too many germs. And too many unvaccinated folks. Watching my baby cry without making a sound was one of the saddest thing I've ever seen, and I don't want to see it again.


Jenn said...

Poor Felix! I've never heard a baby lose their voice! Hope he gets better soon.

Packrat said...

Poor Felix and poor you. Sorry, we don't get flu shots, either. The years that we have gotten them, we got sick anyway. I have actually never seen proof that flu shots work.

Brianne said...

Poor baby! Bryan has to get the flu shot for work. My kids have to get the flu shot because I make them. I couldn't get the flu shot because I wasn't sure if I was pregnant at the time (I wasn't), so the pharmacist wouldn't give me one. So I am still going on without one. I may have had the flu a few weeks ago; it was awful, whatever it was. I will be getting the shot as soon as my OB will allow. Which should be soon, since I am almost done with my first trimester. Yay!

trishtator said...

The husband and I both have the kinds of immune systems that people try to sell at garage sales and no one will buy. I'm on round 2 of antibiotics for the gnarliest sinus infection right now. I used to get flu shots in high school and a few after college. These days, I haven't had one in about 5 years. Had the flu (influenza, not the pukes, which is NOT the flu) twice, including once in a year when I got the shot. More than illness, I also suffer from laziness.

I hope you and the small people all feel better! It's been a rough one this winter!