Please allow me to pull up my soap box…
I got my flu shot this week.
Unless you are allergic to it or have another medical indication to not get it, you should too.
I mean, we are all running around terrified of Ebola and really, afraid of getting sick in general. But, most of us are too chicken (or cocky or ill informed or paranoid) to get a simple measure that prevents a common and potentially deadly illness. It is simple, it does not make you sick and the risks are really low (you can actually get some similar complications at random or from a bout of the flu).
Just to point out some facts… You can get the flu shot if you are pregnant. This came up at work the other day. It is not contraindicated. It is advised (I know, there is limited data on fetal risk because the population data does not suggest an issue, but if there was a giant issue, they wouldn’t be doling it out to pregnant women… That is bad PR and asking for a lawsuit). You can also get the flu shot while on most cancer treatments if you time it based on the advice of your doctor (ao came up at work)ls. It is free in a bunch of workplaces and also if you have a chronic condition that puts you at risk if you were to get the flu.
Last year, I had, at one point, 3 people in ICU on ventilators (aka life support) with the flu. The FLU. And they were all in their 40s-60s. Not old people. Not necessarily people who were sickly before. Crappy luck. Bad strains. None of them had received flu shots. They all survived. Not everyone is that lucky… I also had a patient I cared for on an oncology related service die from complications related to the flu during their cancer treatment.
I have watched people die or nearly die from the flu. I don’t want to watch more.
I know the vaccine isn’t perfect. Sure, there are years where they miss the mark in picking the viruses, but they still do confer some immunity and other years they are spot on. I know people don’t trust doctors because apparently we have been brain washed. And there is limited research on each specific year’s vaccine (because they are basically similar with different strains). But, I like to hedge my bets. It is simple, quick, easy and has more evidence behind it than most of the stuff seen on talk shows.
Don’t kill my patients. Don’t kill my family. Get the shot, it is extremely unlikely to make things worse and it probably will make things better.
Rant over. I’ll step down again for now.