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.

19 responses to “Did You Hear the One About Flu Shots?”

  1. AndieBeck says:

    Hi, I am new to the world of asthma and started with BellaOnline … but I am so glad you have set up this blog to give a more personal look into life as an asthma mom.

    I really wish I could give my son the flu shot, but he is allergic to eggs so it’s definitely a no-no. I hope everyone around us who can get the flu shot, will – to help protect him. I will be getting it for sure!


  2. Asthma Mom says:

    Hi Andie,
    While I’m sorry you’re having to join the league of asthma parents, I’m very happy you stopped by here at–as I like to call it–the Blog of Inferior Breathing. :)

    Doesn’t it just make you crazy–ESPECIALLY since your son can’t get one–to hear about parents who CHOOSE not to get flu shots for their asthmatics? I just don’t get it.

    That really sucks about your son’s egg allergy–I hope he has a healthy winter, but it sounds like you’re doing your best to protect him. Maybe one day

  3. sandy says:

    I understand you have an opinion , and this is your venue to voice it -but be aware as well that there are parents of asthmatics who choose NOT to get the flu vaccine for reasons other than lack of understanding. For instance we have a toxicity to mercury on my son , and until they make the mercury free version more available ( if available at all -which has been the case with us) he will not be getting one. Also , though a coincidence it may be-I have gotten the flu shot , and have gotten the flu in the following month , people do not seem to understand that the flu vaccine in itself isn’t a vaccine for ALL strains-just the one ( or ones ) that they predict the likelihood of contracting is greatest. I am not comfortable with injecting more chemicals into my son than needed, and the mercury in a vaccine is used as a perservative. Like I said, until the CDC requests more thimerisol free vaccines , we will have to continue to take a risk , just as I do with Advair ( likelihood of death from asthma related situations increases) and Singular ( which MANY families have reported weird side effects ) with my son it gave him and ulcer that we had to treat and reduce his mg daily intake , and he is ONLY on it because the combination of treatment works so well for him .

  4. Amy says:

    Um, this post never claims to examine ALL the reasons parents don’t get vaccines for their children. I am well aware there are many reasons behind this choice, but this post has nothing to do with that. Perhaps you should read it again.

    If you do, you’ll find that I’m ONLY talking about parents who refuse the vaccines for their children because they think it causes the flu. Which it does not.

    Which is not my “opinion,” but a verifiable medical fact.

    Also, if you read through the comments on other posts, you’ll find that my readers absolutely understand–as do I–how the vaccine is produced and what it does/doesn’t protect against.

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