Sunday, November 18, 2018

Getting a flu shot

I have never had the flu, or if I have I didn't know it.  I've been told though that I would know if I had had the flu.  I've had colds, bronchitis, allergies, hay fever, you name it, but not influenza.

In the past I've heard that the flu shot only protects from the very specific strain that the vaccine was made for.  The chances of getting that specific flu was rare.  So why in the heck would I going to get a flu shot?  I don't like shots.  I doubt anyone does, but that's my first reaction.

I'm a Type 1 Diabetic.  Do you know what that means?  That means I give myself 5 or more shots a day.  I don't think avoiding shots can be an excuse for me anymore.  Also diabetics, both Type 1 and 2 are naturally more immune deficient.  This means that a cold or flu can more easily take root in our systems because we aren't as able to fight them off as the regular folk.

Did you know that last year (2017) over 80,000 died from the flu?  and that was just in the United States!  That is an outrageous number and if you were to think of that being your community or town, that's everyone you know or have met...

I've done a little research.

Each year the flu vaccine is made to help protect against 3 or 4 different strains.  If you do happen to get the flu, the vaccine, even if it isn't the exact kind that was in your vaccine, it will help you not have the flu as bad and can protect you from a more severe reaction. 

Did you also know that it takes about 2 weeks for your body to develop the antibodies to fight the virus? So get that flu shot before anyone around you gets the flu.  Don't wait.  Flu season is from the end of October through May.

You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine.  The shot is not a live virus, so all that's doing is getting your antibodies fired up to fight the flu if it happens to come near you.  The vaccine that is a nasal spray is a live virus but it is too weak to actually cause the flu, once again, it's just enough to get those antibodies started. 

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to share diseases.  All that hugging and kissing and sharing the tasting spoon.  Families who haven't seen each other in ages come together under one roof and share their germs.  I know, it sounds awful, but it's true.  Wash your hands a lot when you are with family.  That can really help keep those germs from spreading.

I have been reading more and more about the herd immunization and how important it is for the majority of us in a society to have the immunizations or vaccines to keep the others that can't have those shots from getting sick.  A lot of my friends are immune suppressed because they are transplant recipients or are in need of a transplant.  If they are unable to get a flu shot, for whatever reason, I don't want to be the one to pass it along to them, that's for sure. 

Dr. Alan Taege, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic gives a nice succinct reason why those of us who can should get the flu vaccine.
“The more people who get the vaccine, the more chance that we can avoid an epidemic,” Taege said. “It’s called ‘herd immunity’ —- the more vaccinated means less chance for widespread influenza.” 
Flu Shot Facts...source

I was fortunate enough that my medical insurance paid for my flu shot. You know it's kind of strange to go into a Walgreens and be behind a little room divider screen and sit in the chair and have a Pharmacist give me a shot and then walk away past the people picking up their prescriptions.  You know I'm used to those types of things being held in a real doctor's office. But hey it's a lot easier running in there than it is to make an appointment at a doctor's office and wait to get call back and all of that.

Yep, I got my flu shot on Wednesday.  My arm is still a little sore and I got a headache.   That's about it folks.  In this case I'm part of the herd. 


Have a great day!

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