Why I Got A Flu Shot And Things to Consider Before You Get One

There is a lot of controversy when it comes to vaccines. I don’t want to get into the whole debate, but I wanted to put some information out there so you can make your own informed decision about how to prevent the flu.

I never got the flu shot until I was 22-years-old and I was a pretty healthy kid. I did get sick a lot in college, but not with the flu. I had a lot of tonsil/sinus/ear infections (and yes all the thee at the same time) starting my sophomore year at Oregon. After 2 years of some horrible infection every 3 months, I had to get my tonsils out. A few months after I got a very bad cold. The doctor told me I most likely got sick again because all these infections slightly damaged my immune system. He recommended I get the flu shot every year from now on.
After that I started to take more preventive measures to avoid getting sick and it worked pretty well for awhile (which proves to me that your body can fight off germs if you give it a chance). Then I started dating my now husband, and the week before finals our last term at UHH, he caught the flu….and gave it to me. I did get the flu shot that year, but that particular shot did not inoculate against the strand we caught. It was a strand effecting Japan and they did not think it was hit America that flu season (or so the urgent care doctor told me)….guess they didn’t realize that Hawaii is not really near the mainland and would get the virus sooner…
The flu was awful. Ten days of us both squished in front the AC in my apartment trying to keep our fevers down. Coughing all over each other and barely being able to move. Needless to say, I NEVER want the flu again. EVER. It was the worse sickness I have had in my life. I honestly think childbirth will be more pleasant.

So, I have been trying to not take unnecessary medications since I found out I was pregnant. I took a few Tylenol (for aches and pains) and Benedryl (for sleep and nausea) on occasion, but only when I really really needed it. When it came time to get the flu shot, I had to think about it. I did not want to get the flu again, especially when there can be a lot more serve complications when pregnant (including death of the mother and fetus). But I did not want to harm my baby and there is some nasty junk in flu shots.

Then one day my mom called me one day to say that Dr. Oz says all pregnant women should get preservative-free flu shots. My response, “Do you have to do everything Dr. Oz tells you?” She told me it’s my choice, but to think of how awful the flu was last time. So I did some research first (I linked the articles I read below). Then I talked to my doctor. She said they did have preservative-free shots and it was safe. I also asked my husband, who agreed I should get one because I get sick so easily.
I was still not convinced I should get it right away since I had got the shot year I got the flu—what if I inject all this stuff into my baby and I still ended up getting very sick? But then I remembered I live on the mainland now, and odds are the shot will be for the correct virus this time. Then I read the CDC’s criteria for who should definitely get the flu shot and realized I fit into 3 of them: pregnant, compromised immune system, and blood disorders (Anemia). I realized, for me personally, the benefits outweighed the risks.

I am glad I got the flu shot now. As of this morning, 15 deaths and 13 hospitalizations in the Bay Area alone for the flu. Three of them in my county. And yeah, I know the media hypes things—I did go to a very good Journalism School and know how the news works—but those are still 15 innocent people who lost their lives.

Like I said, it is your personal choice on whether to get a flu shot or not. You need to do what is right for yourself and your baby. But please make an informed decision above all else.
Articles I read about the flu shot:

Key Facts, Center for Disease Control

Pregnancy and the Flu, March of Dimes
Five Reasons Why I’ll Never Get A Flu Shot, The Organic Prepper (Blogger)

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