Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

I’ve been shot…have you?

on October 20, 2011

And it didn't hurt one bit!

This has  nothing to do with our new concealed carry gun law, I’m talking about a flu shot. We went to Walgreen’s the other day for our annual shots, just walk in,ask for a shot and they’ll shoot you.  In and out in 5 minutes.  Well, not exactly because they gave us a coupon for $3 off a $15 purchase so I had to buy $15 worth of stuff I didn’t know I needed! 

Anyway, the next day I felt a little “off,” and I blamed it on the flu shot.  I knew this was wrong but had to do some research just to prove that the shot did not make me sick. 

WOW- checking the internet for information about flu shots and vaccines in general is like walking into a mine field!  There are lots of differing opinions and I’m sure you have your own thoughts as well but I prefer to follow science and research so I went to the Centers for Disease Control website first.  This is what they have to say:

Can the flu shot give me the flu?

No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. The viruses contained in flu shots are inactivated (killed), which means they cannot cause infection. Flu vaccine manufacturers kill the viruses used in the flu shot during the process of making vaccine, and batches of flu vaccine are tested to make sure they are safe. In randomized, blinded studies, where some people got flu shots and others got saltwater shots, the only differences in symptoms was increased soreness in the arm and redness at the injection site among people who got the flu shot. There were no differences in terms of body aches, fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat.

More information about these studies is available at:

Why do some people not feel well after getting the flu shot?

The most common side effect of the flu vaccine in adults is soreness at the spot where the shot was given, which usually lasts less than two days. The soreness is often caused by a person’s immune system making protective antibodies to the killed viruses in the vaccine. These antibodies are what allow the body to fight against flu. The needle stick may also cause some soreness at the injection site. According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), rare symptoms include fever, muscle pain, and feelings of discomfort or weakness. If these problems occur, they are very uncommon and usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days.

Ok- so I didn’t get the flu from the flu shot.  Just decreased energy and maybe a low grade fever that lasted a few hours. 

I also went to Yahoo! Answers to see what people were saying about flu shots.  I found out that flu shots are a scam made up by drug companies, that they can cause Alzheimer’s, and that all shots harm your immune system and make you weak.  I didn’t see any scientific data or studies to back up these claims but I want you to know that there is another school of thought.  I’m guessing most of these people have never seen a child die from the measles or crippled by polio but I’m not going to get into that as it really is a loaded topic!

Let’s go back to flu shots.  Do you need one? That’s your choice but here are the recommendations from the Mayo Clinic:

Who should get the flu vaccine?

Since the 2010-11 influenza season, the CDC has recommended annual influenza vaccinations for everyone age 6 months or older. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of influenza complications, including:

  • Pregnant women
  • Older adults
  • Young children

Chronic medical conditions can also increase your risk of influenza complications. Examples include:

  • Asthma
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV-AIDS
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Obesity
  • Sickle cell disease

I don’t fall into any of these categories (no, I am not “older” yet!), but I work with the general public and the general public is always coughing and sneezing and not washing their hands so I made my own high risk category of “I am around sick  people all the time” 

Your best bet is to talk to your doctor to see if you should get a flu shot.  If nothing else, wash your hands with soap several times a day, eat healthy, exercise and get enough sleep. 

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