It’s flu season, and naturally, with the new flu shots out and those combined with H1N1 (Swine Flu) which is still relatively new, many people continue to question the safety and usefulness of the flu vaccine.
I was once one of those people, insisting the flu vaccine was dangerous and actually made people sick. I was also very wary of the H1N1 vaccine, as it is still so new. I am cautious with any new vaccine or medication put on the market, and I believe most people should be.
But I wanted to share my story with you to hopefully convince you that vaccinating against the flu and H1N1 is beneficial to your health.
Influenza, or the flu, presents itself as a cough, runny nose, congestion, high fever, body aches, diarrhea and/or vomiting, extreme fatigue and headaches. While most healthy individuals will catch this illness and recover from it, some others could experience severe complications such as pneumonia or severe dehydration if they are in a high risk group such as individuals suffering from asthma or young children and infants or the elderly with weakened or underdeveloped immune systems.
Our 4 year old son has asthma. He was diagnosed around the age of 3 when we took him in for a possible dairy allergic reaction. In addition to his usual hives he would get if he consumed dairy products, he was wheezing, a new symptom, in addition to some coughing. After going into the emergency room, it was determined that he had asthma.
Fast forward…a common cold would cause an asthma attack. Wheezing and coughing, difficulty breathing and tiredness from a simple chest cold that didn’t affect the rest of the family so badly would put our little guy in the hospital. He would require a breathing treatment, oral steroids, and constant medicating for at least a week followed by a few follow-up appointments to check his progress.
Every time our son would cough, we would stand by, waiting for him to need his inhaler.
This last March, we waited too long to give him his inhaler. We thought he would be okay, but then the cough worsened, and the wheezing started, and before I knew it, his breaths per minute were too high. After a trip to the emergency room for a breathing treatment and a dose of steroids, we were told to continue giving him his inhaler and oral steroids. After a day of being constantly medicated, he wasn’t improving. The medication wasn’t controlling his symptoms and his dose was increased.
He got the equivalent Albuterol during each use of his inhaler (every 4 hours) as he would if he had received a breathing treatment each time. He was given the maximum dose of Prelone, a pediatric oral steroid like Prednisone.
At his follow-up appointment, he was still wheezing. After an X-ray, it was determined that he had developed pneumonia as a complication of his asthma combined with a simple chest cold.
His asthma constricted his lungs. With each cough, instead of expelling the mucus caused by the virus, his lungs tightened, trapping the mucus. The trapped mucus formed a bacterial infection which caused the pneumonia. In addition to his inhaler and Prelone, the little guy was now on a course of antibiotics to clear out the infection.
Our other son, my husband and I all became sick with this same chest cold. We all got over it without severe complications. I used my inhaler one time during the course of the illness and required no more medical intervention than that. Our oldest son and my husband dealt with the illness and healed from it. But our 4-year-old, because he has been cursed with asthma, suffered nasty consequences from a simple cold virus.
For those of you who are not aware, pneumonia can be deadly. In our son’s case, he had “walking pneumonia”. Most cases of pneumonia render a person bedridden or even require hospitalization. Apparently, our son was lucky.
This is why our son and my husband get the flu shot every year. We vaccinate against influenza and H1N1 or Swine Flu. Our oldest son and I would also vaccinate against the flu if we weren’t allergic to eggs, a component in the vaccine, so that we could further protect our asthmatic child from being exposed to influenza.
For my child, herd immunity (protecting as much of the population as possible to prevent illness) is important to limit his exposure to these viruses to prevent the potentially deadly complications that arise due to his asthma. I am here to convince you to get the flu shot if you are medically able to do so.
I’m also here to tell you that I used to be anti-vaccine like many mothers today are because of the fear of thimerosal (mercury), formaldehyde, and other seemingly harmful ingredients that are in vaccines. I was also convinced, like many others, that vaccines caused autism, aspergers, ADHD, and a slew of other neurological and autoimmune diseases.
After careful scientific research, I have since changed my mind. I am now pro-vaccination, and I want to convince you as well.
If you are not allergic to any of the components of the flu shot (such as egg), you have no medical contraindications at the time of vaccination (like a weakened immune system or a fever) or you’re in a high risk group (such as children and seniors or individuals with asthma), then you should get the flu shot according to doctors.
If you’ve never had an adverse reaction to a flu shot, getting the flu shot is also a good idea so that you can protect your friends and loved ones who may be put in danger if they were to catch the flu. This is known as herd immunity. If you get vaccinated, you help to protect those around you who cannot get the shot (like my oldest son and I, as we are allergic to the egg component in the vaccine) or those in high risk groups (like our youngest son who has asthma).
Common flu shot reactions are minor and relatively harmless, such as mild rash and fevers. Rare, but severe flu shot reactions have been reported, such as severe allergic reactions to a vaccine component. If you are allergic to any component in a vaccine, you should never get that vaccine. More on severe flu shot reactions at CDC.gov…
You and your doctor should assess the benefits vs. the potential risks of getting the flu shot for your individual situation. Just like not every medication works for every person with a specific condition, not everyone should get certain vaccinations. Discuss the pros and cons with your doctor to determine if the flu shot is a good fit for you.
Some people claim to get the flu from their flu shot. While doctors and scientists insist that this isn’t possible, I’ve known people (including my husband) who only got sick after they got the immunization, whether it was by injection or the flu mist nasal spray.
Since I have seen this first hand, I question the claim that the flu shot doesn’t cause the flu. I’m not totally convinced. However, I would prefer to take a risk from the shot, which may make you ill but not as ill as if you’d caught the flu naturally, and feel a little bit sick rather than possibly feeling deathly ill. This is especially true for us as our son has asthma and had pneumonia from a simple chest cold last March.
Thimerosal is a mercury based preservative used in multi-dose injection flu vaccines in the United States. While many claims have been presented that thimerosal causes autism in children, many studies have refuted that claim including one done in Denmark that showed that children who received a shot containing thimerosal had the same risk of developing autism as those who received the same shot that did not contain thimerosal. Numerous studies in other countries have come to the same conclusion, showing no link between thimerosal and autism.
Understandably, despite the findings of thimerosal having no link to autism, many parents are worried and rightfully concerned about injecting mercury into their children’s bodies. Thankfully, you can still get the flu shot without the thimerosal. You can either request a single dose flu vaccine or get the flu mist nasal spray. Both of these versions of the influenza vaccine do not contain thimerosal as a preservative.
Exserpt from “The Vaccine War” documentary from PBS. You can watch the full documentary on YouTube. It is also streaming on Netflix and available to purchase from Amazon.com. (See below)
For more information on the flu vaccine, speak with your doctor and visit the CDC webpage discussing influenza and the flu shot.
Question: What is your opinion of the flu shot and the argued autism and thimerosal connection?
Most Popular Articles
Grab My Button
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.alwayssick.com" title="Always Sick Chick" target="_blank"><img src="http://alwayssick.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/alwayssickchick-button.jpg" alt="Always Sick Chick" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
My Favorite Food Allergy Alternatives
Always Sick Archives by Date