Did You Hear the One About Flu Shots?
You know, the one about the mom who wouldn’t take her son with asthma to get the vaccine because last year he happened to get really sick even though he’d had one?
Yeah, she’s an idiot.
I swear, I overheard this conversation in the grocery store over the weekend. It’s none of my business of course, but I wanted to shake the woman. LADY, HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD THE WORD *COINCIDENCE* BEFORE?
Seriously. The flu shot does not cause the flu. This is a fact–proven scientifically and all that–by people who know more about it than me. The vaccination contains a “killed” version of the virus, not a live one. (although the FluMist spray DOES contain the live virus, so asthmatics should NOT use it)
And lady, I’m sure everyone has a neighbor/friend/relative/acquaintance/regular supermarket cashier/dentist/hairdresser/whatever that happened to have a bad winter after getting a flu shot, but that is not evidence of some great conspiracy on the government’s part to entice you to get your kid a vaccine that will actually make him sicker.
The American Lung Association, an independent non-profit, conducted a study on this very subject and found no evidence the flu shot worsens asthma, much less makes recipients sick. And influenza is very, very dangerous for asthma patients because they are at high risk for complications like pneumonia and even death.
It’s not acceptable to make choices for other parents about how they raise their children, I know that. But man, I wish I could print up some cards or something. *Here, do a little light reading about the 1918 flu pandemic,* I’d say. Or maybe just give them some numbers from the National Archives:
1. Approximately 50 million people died from the 1918 influenza virus.
2. This number is almost 3 times as high as the number of people killed in World War I.
3. It took only one year for the 1918 flu to drop the U.S. life expectancy by 12 years.
A pandemic may never happen in my Asthma Girl’s lifetime, although health experts are pretty sure it will. But even regular, ordinary non-pandemic influenza is serious, especially for kids with asthma. I make a lot of dumb mistakes as a parent, but I can’t imagine not taking this precaution for her.