Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

I haven't blogged in many moons... well, four phases of the moon to be exact. I thought I'd spare you all my negativity because frankly, it wasn't such a great summer... particularly the last month. It was difficult for me to find humor in all that life was throwing at me, and since I write to entertain or inform you rather than garner your sympathy, I thought I would stay away until I had an attitude adjustment. I'm better now, so I'll spend less time taking quizzes and tending my farm on Facebook and a little more time writing and reading blogs.

I celebrated my improved mood with a flu shot yesterday, and it made me feel really good to take some control over my health. The last time I had the flu was in February 1997. Sweetie and I got it at the same time. I like to joke that we didn't get out of bed all of Valentine's weekend, and we shared a bottle of red (it was Robitussin). We were so sick that we took our temperatures and whoever had the lowest had to go make food. Food was tea and toast or Lipton soup and crackers. It was almost a month before we felt completely better. After that, we've both had a flu shot every year, and Pipsqueak gets them too. I'm thrilled to say that we've been flu-free.

I hear a lot of people say, "I'm not getting a flu shot. I got it last winter, and I was the sickest I've ever been. I got ______ (fill in the blank with pneumonia, bronchitis or any other viral or bacterial comeuppance)." People, the flu shot doesn't make you sick! It won't give you that stuff; it doesn't even prevent that stuff. It does not lower your immunity. It gives you a very good chance at preventing the flu, or if you do get the flu, it will lessen the severity. It would be like saying, "I'm not wearing my seat belt anymore, because last time I did I was in an accident and got seriously injured." It does take 30 days from the injection until you're fully protected, so you could still get the flu in that time. If you do get a non-flu virus, it has nothing to do with the shot. You were just unfortunate to be in close contact with someone with an upper-respiratory infection, and you caught it.

This year, just to heighten the confusion and panic, we have swine flu. (I'm sorry, but I'm not going to call it H1N1. I mean no disrespect to pigs, and I continue to eat them. I love me some bacon, but it's swine flu for me.) So there's a lot of worry over the rush to create a vaccine. Will it be safe? Will it cause Guillain-Barre in some people like the swine flu vaccine of the 70s? Will there be enough for everyone that wants it? Let's be calm and take a deep breath. This vaccine wasn't rushed anymore than any seasonal flu vaccine. The seasonal ones are based on whatever is going around in the winter for the southern hemisphere (our summer). It takes about four months to create a vaccine. Swine flu reared its head at the end of April and really got a foothold in May. Four months have now passed, and the vaccine is now being tested. It should be available in mid-October. It's not clear that there will be enough for everyone that wants it, but the CDC is recommending it for those age 6 months -24 years, particularly school age children, pregnant women and those people with underlying health conditions. If it's available to me, even though I don't fall under any of those categories, I will get it.
I'm not a medical expert; I don't even play one on tv. The information I have I got is from experience, the CDC and the WHO. If you have questions, go there and read. I'd rather hear that you're not getting the flu shot because you're afraid of needles rather than because you're mis- or uninformed.

You might buy a lottery ticket because you'd like a chance at several million dollars. You go on a date because you'd like a chance at love. Why not get a flu shot because you'd like the chance at not being sick in bed for days


Anonymous said...

Yay, you're back! Missed reading your stuff. Hey, I didn't know The Who had anything to do with swine flu. I hope they feel better.

I'll not be getting a shot, but I wish you the best. I'm the sort who will wait until I have it to do something about it. Can you say "Maverick"?

Tammy H. said...

Nice to hear that you are back to the blogging. I have to agree with you on the flu. I have a husband and a son with asthma and as soon as they offer the shot, they will be in line and hopefully the other boys and I won't be far behind. I can relate to your comments about the flu, since Tom and I had it (at the same time) with three toddlers while we were up here in Vermont vacationing. If it weren't for some great friends that weekend, the kids would have starved because neither of us were able to move a muscle to care for ourselves, much less three boys under 4.
Flu shots are de rigueur in our house. Great post!

Apron Thrift Girl said...

I'd like to chip in and say that not all people who don't get this vaccine will be either mis-informed or un-informed. I consider myself as always having made an informed choice in my parenting. In fact I have researched the subject of vaccines for nearly 10 years now. I have listened to conference tapes, read both sides, spoken to mother's of vaccine damaged children, to doctors and have read countless books. I'd say I'm pretty informed. :-)

Aunt Becky said...

I'm totally with you on being tired of hearing people tell me how sick the vaccine makes them.


I'm glad there are people like you and Apron Thrift Girl out there who ARE informed.

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