Thursday, January 05, 2012

to flu or not to flu

this morning i was wondering how many of us out there actually get the flu shot.  at my last Dr.'s appointment (just the family Dr.), he asked me if i was interested.  he also offered me a "pneumonia shot".   now just let me say that my family Dr. is not in the least bit pushy.  nor does he do too much digging in your business.  although i do credit him with saving my life last year, by actually asking the appropriate questions, when i mentioned that i had been having severe heartburn (more on this in a few days).

so back to the shots.  i declined on both counts.  i have lived with diabetes for 37 years now.  i have had the flu shot exactly 0nce.  and perhaps it was only coincidence, but i thought for sure i was going to die. 

i did a little light reading at Health Canada, and this is their stand on who should get the flu vaccine.

I have a chronic condition. Should I get the flu shot?
Yes, if you have any of the following chronic conditions, as you are more at risk of developing complications from the seasonal flu:
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • asthma and chronic lung disease
  • liver disease
  • diabetes
  • serious obesity
  • diseases or treatments that affect the immune systems such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants
  • blood disorders
  • neurological disorders
  • medical conditions where people have difficulty swallowing or are at risk of choking
  • children’s and adolescents' medical conditions treated for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin®).

If you are in contact with people with these conditions, you should also get a flu shot to help protect them.

next, i looked at Health Canada's stand on the pneumonia vaccine.  this is what they had to say:

Who should get the vaccine?
Pneumococcal vaccine should be given to anyone 65 years of age and older, as well as adults and children two years and older who have the following high-risk medical conditions :
  • chronic heart, kidney or lung disease (except asthma);
  • nephrotic syndrome;
  • cirrhosis of the liver;
  • alcoholism;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • chronic cerebrospinal fluid leak;
  • HIV infection and AIDS;
  • other diseases that suppress the immune system;
  • no spleen or a spleen that does not work properly;
  • sickle cell disease.
When should pneumococcal vaccine be given?
The best time to get the needle is as soon as you develop a high-risk medical condition or when you turn 65. Because many people who should get the pneumococcal vaccine also get the flu shot (influenza vaccine) every autumn, it would be a good idea to get them both at the same time. But remember - the pneumococcal vaccine is usually given just once in your lifetime and the influenza vaccine is given every year. Only a few people will need a second dose of the pneumococcal vaccine. Your doctor will know if you need another dose.

this past couple days,  half of my family has had some sort of "bug".  not a very pleasant one either i am told.  my middle child, and her two children, whom i look after every day, have had it.  the two little ones, seemingly only for about 24 hours.  momma, not so much.  onto day 3 with her.

my youngest daughter now seems to have the beginnings of it.  i will not gross you out with the details.  i am sure you can guess!

so my head is now wondering if perhaps i should have taken the good Doctor up on his suggestions.  i seem to be immune to these sorts of "bugs".

but after the year i have had, health-wise, i am now asking myself if maybe i should have gotten both vaccines after all?

what do you think?  do you get the flu shot each year?  


  1. Nope, I don't get the flu shot and never have. I tend to feeling like I'm coming down with something often, but I usually fend it off with extra rest and such. I don't think I've had the flu in ages (hopefully I didn't just jinx myself), and I rarely even get the 24 hour thing. But, if you think it might help keep you from catching the crud, then I'm all for it!!

  2. I haven't gotten it :( I haven't had one in a while. I don't notice it helping, but my dad is really pushing me to get it...

  3. I've gotten the flu shot every year, for years. Except in 2004/5 because there was a shortage. I got the flu - was miserable - and two months later was diagnosed with Lada...
    I've had the pneumonia shot and last year got the shingles shot.

  4. I got it once and it made me awfully sick so I've never gotten it again.
    Maybe if I worked around children or in public I might.

  5. I didn't get one this year but only because of timing. I've had the pnuemonia shot too. My doc recommends both, not only because of diabetes, but because I care for my 93 year old mother (for her sake). FYI, the flu shot does nothing for the stomach bug. Flu shots prevent respiratory flu. There's no avoiding the stomach bug!! yuck.