At any doctor’s appointment this time of year, the biggest question a parent will most likely be faced with is “would you like your child to get the flu shot today?” Up until this year, my answer has always been a swift decline. A few months ago I found myself on the fence.
There are obvious pros to the flu shot and a lot of people get one each and every year, whether it be at a doctor’s office or a pharmacy. The flu shot protects against several strains of the flu and it is changed yearly as the flu mutates. Doctors, nurses, and anyone else in the medical field get a mandatory flu shot but for everyone else this shot is a choice.
You may recall my first stance on getting vaccinations from Saying No To Vaccines, however, the flu shot is one that I have always questioned. Personally, I was never given the flu shot growing up and I have also never had the flu. My mother’s firm belief was in the following things.
- Avoid sick people, obviously.
- Eat lots of garlic and onions.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Wash your hands often.
There was also, perhaps the most important, if you treat your body as if you are already sick throughout flu season … then you wont get sick. Push fluids like Gatorade and juices high in Vitamin C, eat soup, blow your nose instead of sniffling. Simple things like this have helped me ward off colds and keep me well this time of year.
Now, when it boils down to my children and whether or not to vaccinate them, this is where I begin to waver. Last year my older son came down with the flu on Christmas Eve. All of us hardly slept and we actually ended up opening presents at 4:00 AM to help cheer him up. His fever was just barely controlled by Tylenol, we had him pushing fluids and he spent all of Christmas day absolutely miserable.
I know for a fact that he came in direct contact with someone who had the flu last year and it’s actually the very first time I have ever seen the flu in person. Knowing that this is a sickness that can and does take lives made it a very nerve racking situation for me. His poor little body was so sore he wouldn’t accept hugs or let you even touch him. This year I don’t want to risk the same thing, especially with myself being pregnant again and having a baby in the house. But getting the flu shot wont protect against every strain of the flu … and I am still a firm believer in the way that my mother kept our family from getting sick.
On top of already going back and forth from yes to no, it isn’t helpful that certain websites release articles about “deadly flu vaccines” and false CDC reports. Recently I saw a shared article on Facebook that explained that the CDC has reported the flu vaccine of this year to be unhelpful to this years flu strains and also deadly. The problem with this kind of reporting is that when I dove deep into researching it, I found no evidence to support these claims. In fact, all I found was to the contrary. The CDC is still recommending the flu shot as they always do and also reports that there is no way to know what this years flu season will be like or the exact accuracy of the flu shot. The reason for this is that scientists use past data to predict the flu season much like a meteorologists predict the weather.
When it boils down to the cold, hard facts this is a decision that needs to be made by parents and doctors alone. No online article (including my own) should have the power to sway a parent’s choice one way or the other.