Wednesday, January 2, 2013

We Got the Flu but Did We Get the Flu SHOT?



Just shy of two weeks ago, our house was hit with the flu. I was the first to come down with it and I was hit hard. However, like any mom who is busy shuffling kids around, baking, and doing last minute things just a few days before Christmas, I was living in denial. I’ve had a cough since Thanksgiving(?) and thought it had just festered in to something that would quickly be cured by some antibiotics. One trip to the doctor and one chest x-ray later, I was not prescribed an antibiotic but rather sentenced to (what felt like) my death bed for the next five days. The flu then slowly but surely took down every member of our household (in varying degrees).

Whenever anyone hears that we had the flu the first question that people ask is if we got the flu shot. The answer is yes, and no. In October, I dragged all three kids to the doctor’s office at 7:30pm (since that was the only open appointment that they had) to get the shots. It was past their bedtime and I had to physically restrain Isabelle who was kicking and screaming while the nurse gave her the shot. So yeah, it was basically a nightmare but it was worth it, right? My kids weren’t going to get the flu – yippee! They were surrounded by a magical anti-flu force field. My husband also got the flu shot since they give them out at his work. Me, on the other hand? I did not get the shot. My mom didn’t come drive me to the doctor (I think all the taxis in Heaven were booked) and my employer failed to set up an easily accessible time/location for me to receive the vaccination.

So go figure that I am the one who comes down with it. I can’t help but think that if I had got the shot that I could have prevented it from entering our house in the first place. We could have not been home confined for twelve (TWELVE!) days. We could have celebrated Christmas with our family. We could have had a happy and healthy school break. I had never really considered that me not getting the shot would get the others sick. Clearly, I knew that I risked getting sick but I thought that even if I was sick that the flu shot would protect everyone else. I mean, isn’t that the whole point? Now I’m sure that the shot worked successfully on tons of people this year but is it too much for it to have worked on my family? What did we do to piss off the flu shot scientists? Or maybe the nurses gave us a placebo shot...oh, the conspiracy theories are endless!

In all seriousness though, let me tell you that this flu that we had TOTALLY sucked. Isabelle and I (in particular) were so sick with it. If I had a magic wand, I would go back and get the flu shot in hopes that it would have prevented it from invading our house. Since I don’t have a magic wand, I’m telling YOU that you might want to consider getting vaccinated. You don’t want to be sick like we were and you don’t want to have to sit around after the fact wondering if you could have done something to prevent your entire house from being brought down by the plague. So that’s my advice – take it or leave it! Oh, and go stock up on medications either way.


14 comments:

  1. I don't get the flu shot, nor do I have my kids get them. I've never, ever had the flu, so I figure, why put it into my body. Sure, we get colds, but that's the extent of it and I know way too many people that have gotten the flu just from getting the shot to prevent it. I haven't seen an upside as of yet.

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    1. I hear ya. I'm personally always really take it or leave it with the flu shot. I don't have strong feelings about it either way. However, this year since I got the flu I'm wishing that I had got the shot. If I hadn't had the flu then I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it!

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  2. My understanding is regardless if you get the shot or not there are some versions of flu it will not protect you against. My guess since your family got it even with the shots then that was a strain that the flu shot would not have prevented and it would not have mattered if you had it or not.

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    1. Yup, you're right. The flu shot does not protect against all strands of the flu. So it is possible that this strand was not in the vaccine. It's also possible that it was in the vaccine and those in the house that received the vaccine got a lesser version of the flu. I can buy the lesser version for the boys since they were not nearly as sick but not for Isabelle. We'll just never really know!

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  3. The flu shots are only good for one strain of the flu. I don't know all the details, but I guess they just pick one that will most likely be the 'culprit' that season/year, and that is the one people will be protected from. So, since your family all got sick, chances are it was from a different strain than they were protected from, so you may have still gotten the flu even if you had received the shot. I didn't realize that is how it all worked until a couple years ago. I just thought, "geez - why are people still getting the flu even though they got the shot?" Then I learned why. So don't blame yourself mama :-)

    We went to Christmas Eve at my parents house only to discover that all 5 of our kids cousins were coughing really bad and all had colds. Our kids (4yo & 5yo) were the only healthy ones...not even a sniffle. Then BAM! The day after Christmas it came on. Fevers, icky noses, and horrible coughs. They have never had a bad cold, so I think that magnified the misery. Today, a whole week later, they are still coughing but finally perking up. I am so bummed that we didn't get to do any of the fun stuff I had planned for over school break. They were just so miserable, and mostly watched PBS, napped, and ate B/L/D on the couch (something we never do!). School resumes for both tomorrow, so we'll see how they are feeling!

    I hope everyone in your household is doing better and stays healthy!!!

    P.S. I told my mom that we're going to cancel/postpone our next Christmas Eve celebration if any of the kids are sick. She agreed (her and my dad already had it before Christmas, and are just getting over it).

    P.S.S. Neither the kids or I (or my hubby) got the flu shot.

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    1. So sorry to hear that your kids were/are sick as well. It's a total bummer especially around the holiday/vacation time. I can relate to the meals on the couch and the tv time. My two year old has been yelling at me for the last two days when I make him eat his meals at the table - some nerve I have!

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  4. I'm MAD that we didn't get to go to WAXY'S together over vacation. DAMN FLU. But how do you know it wasn't just a nasty virus? How does one diagnose FLU? You know what I say - head to the MinuteClinic! http://stowedstuff.com/2012/11/dont-forget-your-flu-shot.html

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    1. Annie never misses a chance to plug the Minute Clinic! There is a swab test to determine if it's the flu or just a virus. Regardless, there's no particular way to treat it differently if it's the flu. You just have to let it run it's miserable course.

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    2. Icky, poo poo. I'm so glad I got my vaccination at the MinuteClinic.

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    3. I got my MinuteClinic vaccination too ;-)\
      Soooooo sorry about your sicky home!!! sending you anti-flu anti-sick force field your way NOW!

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  5. It's my understanding that one important reason for getting the flu shot is not to prevent yourself from getting the flu (although that can happen), but to prevent yourself from becoming an infectious carrier of a particular flu virus who can then pass the flu on to others whose immune systems are not as strong as yours (old people, sick people, children, etc.). That's why I get the flu shot, even though I rarely get sick.

    I suspect that most people who say they don't get the flu actually have good immune systems so the virus just gives them a "cold" with some sniffles, etc. They then go about their business as usual passing the virus on to other people who may then come down with a dangerous bout of the flu.

    Also, as I understand it, the flu shot only contains inactive viruses. So, it's impossible to get the flu from the flu shot. The flu nasal spray does contain a live virus, but it's weakened.

    Finally, the flu vaccine contains more than one virus strain (of course there may be other strains around during flu season). The 2012-2013 version has three viruses in it: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus, A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus, and B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus.

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  6. Holy cow - it's like you're a pharmacy. I'm so sorry this struck over the holidays! Maybe you got it all out of the way for 2013?

    xoxo The Optimist

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  7. Ugh, I feel bad for everyone who has had this flu. People have been dropping like flies. We've been lucky so far (knock on wood) but I don't know how long that can last. Hope everyone is starting to feel well!

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  8. Between this post and the news saying this flu season is 10xs worse then last season I've been scared straight! My kids had their shots earlier this season and I was not going to get it. Now I'm going today. There is nothing worse then being hit by the flu and passing it along to the kids :( Not that the shot is a guarantee...

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