Monday, November 10, 2014

Flu Shots ... My Theory

It's that time of  year again, when people contemplate whether to get their flu shots or not. 

One of the reasons people give as to why they don't want to get the shot is that they had it once and then got the flu. They are convinced that the shot made them sick. We know that's not technically possible since there is no live virus in the vaccine, but I now think I have a theory on what happened to make them believe that.

Last year I had the Shingles shot, and later the shingles themselves. I didn't get the Shingles from the shot, and I know I had a much milder case than I would have if I had not been inoculated against it.  I also had a flu shot and a pneumonia shot last year. I not only ended up with the Shingles but when the flues came though here, I caught each and every one of them, one after another.  Three different kinds of influenza, even though I had the shot. 

This year they are saying that the inoculation is not for the flu we are expecting to pass this way. People wonder why they should bother to get it.  A nurse once told me that if you have the shot for five years in a row, you are pretty well safe from just about all of them.  And yet, I had three flues all in the same year. What gives?

I'm not a spring chicken anymore and I believe that my body was busy building antibodies for all the things I had shots for, and that's what lowered my resistance. When I caught the first flu, my resistance was down even further, so I quickly caught the second one, and then the third. I have never in my life spent so much time indoors.  With all that illness I had no time to get outside in the fresh air and flush the bugs out of my system. I just kept catching everything that got transported home from the very public places where all of my family work. 

So, am I going to take a chance on the shot this year?  You bet I am.  All I have to do is think how quickly we all turn our heads to see who happens to be coughing when we're in a public place these days.  We never used to pay any attention to that. People coughed and sneezed around us all the time.  The flu shots have eliminated so much sickness in our society, we are quick to notice any sign of it now. That's proof enough for me that the shots are working.  I'll be getting mine later this month. I've got the date posted on my refrigerator already.  I just don't think I'll try for multiple immunizations all within a short period ever again. I'm convinced that's what the problem was.

So, if you are healthy, stay that way and go get your shot. You aren't just protecting yourself, you are protecting those of us whose immune system may not be up to snuff. Stop the spread.  Just do it.

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