So should we get flu shots or not? I wish I had an easy answer, but as you know, there's no such thing with these illnesses.
The dilemma is:
- Some of us have vaccine-related flares that can be severe;
- But if we get the flu, we're likely to be extremely sick for a long time.
Neither option is great, which takes it down to weighing the odds and making a personal choice. Some things to consider include:
- Have you been prone to the flu in the past?
- How likely are you to be exposed? (Be sure to consider the people you're around.)
- Which risk seems greater to you - a vaccine-related flare or a prolonged illness?
- Do you have other conditions that put you at high risk of flu-related complications? (These include diabetes, emphysema/COPD, heart disease & autoimmunity.)
I never used to get flu shots, mainly because I don't know that I've ever had a true case of the flu. I got one a couple of years ago amid the H1N1 fear because of the risk to my children and my autoimmune thyroid disease, and I felt lucky not to have any problems with it. I intended to get one last year but got distracted by a dislocated knee and it just never happened. This year, honestly, I'm ambivalent. But that's me. My decision is based on my own history and really isn't relevant to anyone else.
In past years, posts like this have lead to some heated debate - which is good. It means people are taking the issue seriously and are communicating with each other. However, I hope you're not overly swayed by other people's arguments. Look at the different issues involved, evaluate the facts of your situation, talk to your doctor about risks and possible complications, and do what you feel is best.
How do you handle the flu-shot dilemma? Have you had reactions to the vaccine or complications from the flu itself? What factors go into your decision? Leave your comments below!
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