Flu shots!

Flu season has started and it is time to get your flu shot! Now I’m a total baby when it comes to needles, but I got mine last week. I firmly believe in the flu shot, especially for people who have weak immune systems and need the extra protection.

A lot of people don’t realize the difference between a common cold/ upper respiratory infection and influenza.The flu virus is actually pretty serious and can be life threatening in immunosuppressed patients. The symptoms are similar to a common cold, such as body aches, cough, fever, runny nose, but more intense. You can also develop nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea which can lead to dehydration. The flu can last longer, and keep you in bed for weeks.

The concern that most people have about taking the flu vaccine is that it causes them to get sick. Those flu-like symptoms after getting the shot is actually when your body is making antibodies to the influenza virus and usually is short lived. Sometimes people get a slight skin reaction at the site of injection or feel some pain and heaviness in the arm. A Tylenol usually works for any pain or fever, and you should always ask for your shot to be given in your nondominant arm. Overall the benefit of taking the flu vaccine outweighs the risk.

For patients with lupus, it is important to make sure you get the injection of the flu vaccine, and not the intranasal. Flumist intranasal is a live virus and shouldn’t be given to anyone who is immunosuppressed, lives with someone immunosuppressed, or has lupus.

You should always talk to your doctor first, and the vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women, those who have had a prior allergic reaction, or have egg allergies.

Take control of your health, and get the flu shot! I don’t want anything to keep me from enjoying my favorite time of the year!

2 thoughts on “Flu shots!

  1. Thank you. I believe most of those who claim to have had the flu after a shot have an upper respiratory infection. The flu is worse. I have had it three times in my life. The first was when I was 11. I was sick for weeks, but my school expected me back after a few days. The second time I was a young mother of two boys and we all got the flu. My ex husband realized that I was on the verge of collapse and called for help. The third time I was pregnant with my daughter. I was in the hospital fighting for both of our lives for three weeks. There will never be a year that goes by that I don’t get the shot. I never want to be that sick ever again…and I am a cancer survivor…that says a lot.

  2. For years I got a flu shot, and of course the one time I missed it (in 2012) was the beginning of a year from hell as I got the flu, rolled that right into bronchitis, then a stomach virus…got about a 3 month break during the summer then got double-pneumonia, got over that, got bronchitis (again), the flu, and ended with another stomach virus. I’d forgotten what it felt like to not have fever and be so weak I could barely move. During all this time I worked…except when I just could not do it.

    Needless to say, I’m never missing a flu shot again.

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