Friday, June 22, 2007

if it ain't broke, don't fix it

I’ve never been this sick in my entire life. In the last year, I’ve called out sick from work more times than in the last 6 years combined (the previous 6 years were the Crap years and I called out sick maybe twice). Before this year, I rarely got sick. In fact, I was always the one taking care of other people who had gotten sick. Very early in my relationship with Jesse, he would get sick constantly. Only once did I get sick from him (no, it wasn’t bad enough for me to call out from work). So what did I do differently this year that I’ve never done before? What could’ve possibly compromised my immune system so much that I’m extremely vulnerable to even the common cold?

I have only one answer—the flu vaccine.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for vaccinations. Measles, mumps, typhoid, HPV, etc. None of those sound like fun. So why not just prevent them all together? Up until right before this year’s flu season, I had never gotten the flu shot. I didn’t really think that I needed it before as I don’t usually get very sick. This year, because I now work in an office setting in close quarters with other people in Cubeville, I decided that a flu shot would be a good idea. I don’t say this very often, but it turns out, I was wrong. The vaccine was a horrible idea. And I continue to suffer the consequences, even now, long after the cold season has passed.

Since I got the flu vaccine I have suffered from the following, bronchitis (which took 3 weeks for me to get over), laryngitis (on several occasions), colds (including the most recent bout, which caused me to miss two days of work this week), sinus infections galore, fevers, and general bodily aches and pains (usually concentrated in the head and throat areas). No, I suppose I haven’t gotten the flu. But I’ve come down with a myriad of other ailments that I don’t think I would’ve been susceptible to had I not gotten the flu vaccine.

Take example A: Jesse. As I previously mentioned, Jesse used to get sick all of the time in the first year of our relationship. Having worked in Cubeville while at his previous job, Jesse thought it was a good idea to get the flu vaccine. During our first year together, Jesse would suffer from a sore throat on a monthly basis. Usually, this sore throat would turn into something worse and made him miserable for about a week. Since the big flu vaccine shortage of 2005, Jesse has not gotten the flu shot. After the 2005 flu season, Jesse realized that he didn’t get as sick as he did the previous years. So in 2006, Jesse decided not to get the shot again. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Jesse has stopped coming down with the random cold/sinus infection/sore throat that plagued him in years past.

Take example B: my sister. My sister is a resource teacher at an elementary school in the OC. She now teaches reading to small groups of kids who need extra attention. Before she got promoted, she taught in a classroom setting for many, many years. Every time one of her kids got sick, she would catch it and bring it home (and give it to my mom and me). My sister was sick all of the time. Now that she has been a resource teacher, she doesn’t have as much contact with a lot of kids. She also doesn’t really get sick anymore. Sure, she gets the occasional cold, but nothing that would leave her miserable for more than a couple of days (and she definitely doesn’t get as sick as she used to).

This year, my sister decided to get the flu shot for the first time. My mom’s doctor convinced my sis to get one when she took my mom to get hers (btw, my mom is old, hypertensive, and diabetic so she falls in that demographic of peeps who HAVE to get the vaccine). Since then, my sister has never been more sick in her life. In fact, when I talked to her yesterday and told her about my current illness, my sister said, “You too? I was so sick last week and I’m just now starting to get over it. I’m telling you, it’s that flu shot.”

So, now I’ve learned my lesson. No more flu shots ever again. And if you are an otherwise healthy adult (and not a sadomasochist), don’t get the flu shot.

For more info on why the flu shot doesn’t work, check this out.


Jilian said...

The year I tried the flu shot - I came down with mono :) (just to validate your theory some more)

lizzie said...

thank you, jilian. you are now my example C!

i'm sorry about the mono. :(

sunchaser said...

I've gotten the flu shot the past 5 years and I don't really know if it made any difference one way or the other. I don't think it's ever caused me to get sick, and I figure if it has a shot at keeping me from getting sick (and it's free) why not?

Last winter I only got one cold (not flu) but I think it had more to do with getting enough sleep and not working as many hours as I had in the past (novel idea!)

I do know some health care providers who refuse to get flu shots.