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If your kids do not get flu shots, why not?


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Title says it all. I have gotten them for my kids some years and not others and am just looking for reasons not to get them. I am pretty well aware of the arguments for flu shots but not the other way around. So other than, "I just never got around to it," which had been my excuse in the past, what else should I consider in weighing the equities here?

 

Terri

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Personally, I don't view the flu as a risk to be avoided.

 

I also am not a fan of putting chemicals in bodies without a very good reason. I also need a very good reason to budget my family's time and money for something that isn't even fun.

 

I have heard that the shot isn't that effective and also that it makes some people sick.

 

If I had someone in the household or whom I often see who would be at serious risk if exposed to the flu, I would take that into consideration.

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Personally, I don't view the flu as a risk to be avoided.

 

I also am not a fan of putting chemicals in bodies without a very good reason. I also need a very good reason to budget my family's time and money for something that isn't even fun.

 

I have heard that the shot isn't that effective and also that it makes some people sick.

 

If I had someone in the household or whom I often see who would be at serious risk if exposed to the flu, I would take that into consideration.

 

These are basically my reasons. We did all get flu shots the year youngest DD was a newborn (and was, IMO, more at risk if she got sick) because oldest DD was in preschool. Otherwise, I don't consider the benefits to outweigh the risks for us.

Edited by Sweet Morning Air
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I really struggle with this myself.

 

We have not done flu shots for the kids...ever. Mostly because we just didn't get around to it either!

 

In 2010 both my boys got Flu Strain B. It wasn't pretty - they felt awful and it was a long week or so until they perked back up. After that, my youngest DS got Flu strain A. It was TERRIFYING. He was as sick as I had ever seen him, and as we waited at the hospital for him to get a chest X-ray I honestly feared he would stop breathing. Or dr called every few hours to see how he was and to decide whether to send us to the hospital with him. (We ended up being able to keep him at home while he recovered.)

 

You would think that this experience would make me CERTAIN to get flu shots for the kids, but... I still struggle with the decision. To be honest, they don't cover every strain of flu (I'm not even sure if the shots that year addressed Flu strains A & B) so you never know if it will cover a strain that is going around. Now that we home school I feel a little better about skipping it as we aren't out and about in the general population as often. Also, I feel like I am now so super sensitive to just the thought of my kids having the flu that at the first sign of anything, I would get them to the dr and started on some anti-viral stuff right away.

 

I don't know. I know the dr's office made a point to tell me (repeatedly) that I better do flu shots since we had it that year...but I just don't. I'm not exactly anti-vaccine...I just can't quite feel perfectly OK with getting the flu shots for them. :confused:

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Title says it all. I have gotten them for my kids some years and not others and am just looking for reasons not to get them. I am pretty well aware of the arguments for flu shots but not the other way around. So other than, "I just never got around to it," which had been my excuse in the past, what else should I consider in weighing the equities here?

 

Terri

 

Our youngest is almost two weeks old now so she won't be old enough until we're out of our flu season here. That made getting the rest of the family immunized even more of a priority. The main contraindications for flu shots (the inactivated virus) are egg allergies and Guillain Barre Syndrome (especially if after a prior vaccine). We don't have any history of GBS in either side of the family but I think if we did I might be a little more wary. Of course Influenza infection (and various other infections) can certainly trigger GBS as well so I would probably still proceed the same with a family history.

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1. we have a vax reactive child, so we delay and selectively vaccinate.

 

2. everyone in my husband's family that gets the flu shot gets the flu and gets it worse than those that skip the flu shot. Those that skip the flu shot generally don't get the flu and when they do, they don't have it linger as long. When those people that usually get the flu shot skip a year, they do fine that year...but due to pressure from their doctors, they get it the next time and get extremely sick again. You would think that they would have figured this out by now. BTW, this is noted over a couple of decades, so it has gone far beyond mere "coincidence".

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Personally, I don't view the flu as a risk to be avoided.

 

I also am not a fan of putting chemicals in bodies without a very good reason. I also need a very good reason to budget my family's time and money for something that isn't even fun.

 

I have heard that the shot isn't that effective and also that it makes some people sick.

 

If I had someone in the household or whom I often see who would be at serious risk if exposed to the flu, I would take that into consideration.

 

This.

 

We do not. I do not have a profound reason, I just think it's unnecessary for your average healthy person.

 

and this.

 

We have gotten the flu shot when there's an infant in the house during flu season. Otherwise, it just kind of feels like a crapshoot & doesn't seem worth the hassle to me. You never know if the shot you're getting is actually going to be the strain that's going around that year. It's just somebody's best guess. So far this has worked out perfectly fine for us. Knock on wood ;)

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The biggest reason is that I typically just don't get around to it, but I have also never gotten one for myself, and don't really see the need to get it for my kids. DH has to get it every year and every year he's sick for 2-3 days after. Nothing terrible just a general 'ickyness' so I wonder how bad that would be in my kids. I also work with them on lots and lots of handwashing (especially after we're out shopping or something) but other than that we don't do anything special.

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I did a lot of research a few years ago. There just isn't enough evidence that it actually does anything great. It works best in people with strong immune systems, who don't really need it anyway, and barely works in people that have weak immune systems. There are articles out there by the guy that helped develop the vaccine about how there really isn't evidence that it works well.

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Agree, with others.

-Don't feel Flu is a dire risk, as we are relatively healthy family. If we had other health circumstances where Flu could cause a more dire situation, perhaps we would view it differently. Flu is not fun, but for us, it is highly unlikely to cause death.

 

-Distrust of drug companies. Too many situations where one takes medicine intended to help and it only makes life worse. The recent Meningitis situation with the injected steriods for back issues comes to mind as just one recent issue. Have heard of people getting expired flu vaccines, etc. It's all about the $$$ for drug companies.

 

-Again, prefer to avoid chemicals injected into the body. Sometimes we just need to let the body do what it needs to do, if it is a healthy functioning body and can do it. Ie, let the Immune system do it's job.

 

-Too many stories where Flu vaccine actually caused people to feel flu-ish afterwards. Why make ourselves feel bad unnecessarily?

 

We only did the Flu Vac one year.. about 9 years ago, when middle DS had just come home from the hospital as a 29 week preemie.....Flu in our home could have caused dire situations at that point...and we were already out of our minds with fear for him and the situation we had just went through in the NICU.

 

We've not done it again, since, and have only had the Flu in our house, in a major way, once in those 9 years (our middle DS, who was a preemie, was 5 at that point and as healthy as the rest of us), both DH and I were down for about a week. Our boys never got it though, thankfully.

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Personally, I don't view the flu as a risk to be avoided.

 

I also am not a fan of putting chemicals in bodies without a very good reason. I also need a very good reason to budget my family's time and money for something that isn't even fun.

 

I have heard that the shot isn't that effective and also that it makes some people sick.

 

If I had someone in the household or whom I often see who would be at serious risk if exposed to the flu, I would take that into consideration.

 

:iagree: My personal experience with the flu shot is I have had one in the last 30 yrs, 10 yrs ago before we adopted our two, it was the first time I had had the flu in I really couldn't remember when and I got sick enough that my Dr wanted to admit me to the hospital. It took me almost a month to totally recoup.

 

We eat a healthy diet, non of us are prone to get the flu or even a cold. I so no reason to put poison in their systems to prevent something that we don't normally get.

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My kids rarely get the flu, so I feel the chemicals in those vaccines are worse than the chance they might get the flu. I'm not against vaccines (my kids receive most of the recommended vaccinations, but I did choose to spread them out). The only time we got flu vaccinations was when the kids were really small -- babies and toddlers. When DD was born, it was shortly before flu season and she was too young to receive the shot, so the entire family was vaccinated. The following year when both kids were toddlers I had them vaccinated as well. We haven't bothered since then. If my children, or someone close to us, had a compromised immune system, we would. Right now that is thankfully not the case.

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I just don't think that the risk of flu warrants pumping us up full of chemicals.

 

There was no flu shot when I was a kid and I don't remember anyone ever getting the flu (there were two workers and three public school kids in the house, so surely we were exposed) at my house. Or if they did get the flu it wasn't bad enough to be memorable.

 

The only time I ever got the flu was the year that I got a flu shot through my job.

 

I am extremely unimpressed with the preventative properties of a vaccine that is made annually by guessing which flu strains are likely to be prevalent and which not. I am also unimpressed with the possible ability to safely produce a vaccine that is being invented anew each year.

 

I believe there are better ways to prevent flu. Making sure the have plenty of Vit D rich food in the diet (particularly fermented cod liver oil), airing the house regularly (I let air blow through for a few minutes at least once a day, year round), cleanliness/handwashing, exercise, and sufficient sleep (which may actually be the #1 form of preventative medicine).

 

I also believe that while flu has the potential to be dangerous, in most cases, it just isn't.

 

If the government actually wanted to impress me, they would be stockpiling vaccine for things that ARE likely to kill (small pox, spanish flu, etc) for the potential of an outbreak.

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I don't believe it is necessary. Just try to eat as healthy as you can, exercise on a regular basis, wash your hands often, take extra Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

 

Most healthy people who get the flu are able to get through it without any complications. Yes, it's not pleasant to have it, but to me it's better to get the flu than to inject your body with chemicals. And the flu vaccine doesn't even guarantee that you won't get the flu, you may or may not decrease your chances of getting it.

 

Not worth it to me.

Edited by RainbowSprinkles
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My main reason is that I do not want to expose my kids to the chemicals, year after year, after year. We do regularly scheduled childhood vax tho.

 

Since it's a relatively new practice, the effects of getting it repeated over times several decades are not known yet. I would hate for my kids to have ill effects from the flu vax in their adult years.

 

Also, because it is a guess every year, and not a guaranteed protection.

 

That said, our pediatrician told me that new research shows a link between MRSA infections and the flu as a potential cause for the worst or the flu outcomes. That is making me think about vaccinating because I have a suspicion that one of my kids is a MRSA carrier. Also, my kids are in ps now, and I can't help but think of a 1st grader in their district who died of the flu a few years ago. Have not made a decision yet for this year.

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Like many others, I don't feel the risk of the flu is great enough to justify pumping chemicals into our bodies. Interestingly, there were a couple of years that dh was able to get the vaccine free at work. He went ahead and got it to 'prove' to me how great it was. Both years, he was sicker than the rest of us. One of the years when he was the only one in the house to get the flu.

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Because it doesn't actually prevent the flu. It's based on last year's strain, and by current year the virus has already mutated, so what's the point?

 

When ds was in private school for 8th grade (2 yrs ago) he ended up getting both type A and type B,about a month or two apart. One of his sisters got A, the other B. All were very mild cases, and he brought the second case home from a basketball tournament. Most of his 8th grade class, and most of the 7th grade class were out for a week. Anyone who was at the tournament! It's the only time any of us have had the flu. Coincidentally, the only time my brother has ever had the flu, was the year he got the flu shot. :tongue_smilie:

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I only do flu shots when I have a preemie in the house. For healthy children and adults I do not believe the flu shot is not worth the risks associated with it. We had H1N1 go through our home, 3 kids got sock, myself and my then nursing toddler did not. 2 of the kids got over it quickly, 1 was hit harder but was fine a few days after the other 2. Healthy immune systems fight the flu, and seriously the risk of getting the flu is pretty small in my experience. Out of my 35 years of life, I have had the flu shot 3 times, the other 32 years I have not, and yet still never caught a true flu, even with people in my home with H1N1. I think proper diet, sleep and washing your hands is the best way to prevent illnesses such as the flu rather than a shot. Myself and the other children in the home do flu shots with a preemie in the home since said preemie did not have a healthy immune system yet, nor did I want to risk lung issues. Even with my asthma I do not feel the need for myself or my kids to have the flu shots. I am generally for vaccines, but I do weigh out the risk of catching it, the risk of the disease itself and the possible side effects of the shot. For flu shots the risks outweigh the benefits imo.

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Here it's not offered to everyone, only high risk categories. I personally don't think flu is anything to be majorly worried about, no more than picking up any other bug and we don't have any conditions that would classify us as high risk. We generally don't get ill all that often Also everyone I have known to get the flu jab seems to get really sick.

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I've had flu shots twice in my life. 1) after struggling with a particularly nasty viral infection that wracked havoc on my immune system (I was *really* sick for months/years) and 2) when I was pregnant and had been struggling with pnuemonia. so, both times I had a signficantly compromised immune system. (I've only been *really* sick -as in flat on my back can't even get to the bathroom - the flu maybe two or three times in my life. the few other times I've been sick with it, were annoyances that quickly passed.)

 

I've never had any of my kids vaccinated for flu. we're all generally fairly healthy so if we got sick, it's not usually a big deal, just a nusance. I am not opposed to vaccines, I've just never seen the point of wholesale vaccinating for flu.

 

2dd does get a flu shot now, but she works in a hospital and it's required.

Edited by gardenmom5
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I usually wait around until I find out how bad the flu is each year. Last year it was not bad, so we skipped the shot. This year there has already been a death, and of the two cases our pedi has seen this year so far, one has pneumonia, so we will probably get the shot. This is too early for flu to start around here, so it could be a long season here, and we spend a good bit of time out of the house this year.

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the only one of our family that gets a flu shot is my dh and that's because the military says he must.

 

I don't think they really help anything. I'm actually considered in the high risk group that should get them because I have asthma, but have never gotten one.

 

My kids and I have never gotten one, and have also been the only ones in the family to not get the flu. As I said my dh gets the shot every year and never fails to get sick not long after and his "man cold" attitude that comes along with it every year almost drives me to drink.

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I did a lot of research a few years ago. There just isn't enough evidence that it actually does anything great. It works best in people with strong immune systems, who don't really need it anyway, and barely works in people that have weak immune systems. There are articles out there by the guy that helped develop the vaccine about how there really isn't evidence that it works well.

 

:iagree: What she said. And since there's no way they can 100% guarantee that the strains in the vax are the viruses making the rounds, we pass. We have very strong immune systems, and while it does suck the times we get hit with the flu, we muster through with some TLC, and we're still not out the mucho $$ it would take for all of us to get the shot.

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My kids have egg allergies. My dr said no way. The risk of the shot is higher than risk of the flu for us.

 

But also, they are not very effective. The strains of flu change yearly and are unpredictable. My friends that do get the shot get the flu as often as my friends who don't. So, I'd rather not put unknown stuff in our bodies if the shot may not even be effective.

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I just don't think that the risk of flu warrants pumping us up full of chemicals.

 

There was no flu shot when I was a kid and I don't remember anyone ever getting the flu (there were two workers and three public school kids in the house, so surely we were exposed) at my house. Or if they did get the flu it wasn't bad enough to be memorable.

 

The only time I ever got the flu was the year that I got a flu shot through my job.

 

I am extremely unimpressed with the preventative properties of a vaccine that is made annually by guessing which flu strains are likely to be prevalent and which not. I am also unimpressed with the possible ability to safely produce a vaccine that is being invented anew each year.

 

I believe there are better ways to prevent flu. Making sure the have plenty of Vit D rich food in the diet (particularly fermented cod liver oil), airing the house regularly (I let air blow through for a few minutes at least once a day, year round), cleanliness/handwashing, exercise, and sufficient sleep (which may actually be the #1 form of preventative medicine).

 

I also believe that while flu has the potential to be dangerous, in most cases, it just isn't.

 

 

Add to that ... every year that my mom listened to her doc and got a flu shot she ended up hospitalized with the flu (end then repeated hospitalizations thereafter with infections acquired at the hospital.) She nearly died from c-diff after becoming so weakened by the flu. The years she didn't get flu shots are the years she didn't get the flu.

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Just agreeing with what others have said. When I worked in healthcare, it was required. And I had some sort of weird reaction to it and my entire upper arm blew up, from elbow to shoulder. I'm sensitive to odd things here and there, no big deal.

 

Since then we've never had it. Our ped. isn't thrilled about it, but I can handle that. I don't see it as necessary, it's a roll of the dice as to what strains of flu will go around, etc.

 

If we did have family that had special medical needs immunity wise, I would consider it.

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This is the OP here. Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. I actually had a bit of a discussion with my pediatrician about this this morning. My 12 yo was in there for a completely unrelated matter, and he quizzed me about flu shots. I hedged with similar arguments. He insisted that they were trying to avoid complications of the flu, it's "science," and you can't argue with science. I pointed out that their office will not prescribe Tamiflu if a patient does have the flu. That seems inconsistent to me, and I was put off by the whole "you can't argue with science" thing. Of course you can argue with science! You can't argue with math, maybe, but science--oh yes. I was not persuaded and just told him I would think about it.

 

Thanks again.

 

Terri

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Personally, I don't view the flu as a risk to be avoided.

 

I also am not a fan of putting chemicals in bodies without a very good reason. I also need a very good reason to budget my family's time and money for something that isn't even fun.

 

I have heard that the shot isn't that effective and also that it makes some people sick.

 

If I had someone in the household or whom I often see who would be at serious risk if exposed to the flu, I would take that into consideration.

 

:iagree:

 

And I have to add, I have a few relatives and co-workers that get the flu shot every year. And the flu. I haven't had the flu since I was a kid, and I've never had a flu shot. My kids don't (knock on wood) get the flu either, nor flu shots.

 

This is the OP here. Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts. I actually had a bit of a discussion with my pediatrician about this this morning. My 12 yo was in there for a completely unrelated matter, and he quizzed me about flu shots. I hedged with similar arguments. He insisted that they were trying to avoid complications of the flu, it's "science," and you can't argue with science. I pointed out that their office will not prescribe Tamiflu if a patient does have the flu. That seems inconsistent to me, and I was put off by the whole "you can't argue with science" thing. Of course you can argue with science! You can't argue with math, maybe, but science--oh yes. I was not persuaded and just told him I would think about it.

 

Thanks again.

 

Terri

 

:lol:

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My kids may have gotten flu shots when they were babies. I don't remember. I do know that the past few years, there have been shortages or it hasn't been available when I took the kids in for their annual physicals. I would have to make another appointment for them to get them and even the doctor said it wasn't something I should worry about. My kids are amazingly healthy. They almost never get sick <<knock on wood>> ;) so I'm not really concerned. No compromised immune systems, no elderly, no infants in our house so we just skip it.

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. He insisted that they were trying to avoid complications of the flu, it's "science," and you can't argue with science. I pointed out that their office will not prescribe Tamiflu if a patient does have the flu. That seems inconsistent to me, and I was put off by the whole "you can't argue with science" thing. Of course you can argue with science! You can't argue with math, maybe, but science--oh yes. I was not persuaded and just told him I would think about it.

 

Thanks again.

 

Terri

:001_huh:

People who say stuff like this really don't have a grasp of the science and are trying to sound official. I would follow with ... show me the science of how it is effective and worth the potential risk ... Can you show me 10 years worth of data including overall flu incident rates, vaccinated vs. not vaccinated, complications from the vaccine, etc?

 

ETA: Oh and, make sure that the data comes from an unbiased source, not from someone who has financial ties to the vaccine manufacturer.

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about immuno compromised and flu shots. this is my experience, and you can take it for what it's worth.

 

I'd been fighting a nasty virus for eight months (my health has never been the same since). didn't take much for things to flare up. that "little voice" in my head kept telling me to "get a flu shot". I'd never had one, and had never felt a need for one before. After all, I didn't get the flu very often, and usually wasn't that sick. I had no medical insurance, dh was unemployed and had been for a number of months. I felt like we didn't have the money, so I kept coming up with excuses. the little voice changed tactics. "you need to go shopping at ___ store, now". (I was in the area.) there was a public health nurse that morning giving flu shots for $10 or $20. so I had one. that was october. in dec, I got the flu. almost (but not quite) as sick as I've ever been with the flu. while I was lying in bed that little voice kept repeating, "if you hadn't had the shot it would have been worse; and you'd have been in the hospital (the impression was it would have been days with IV's the whole time.) - with no medical insurance." eta: I also had the flu the following march. it was more like my "typical" flu response.

 

I did have one with my last pregnancy (the only one subsequent to that virus), because I'd also had pnuemonia during the pregnancy. the feeling was it was a reasonable precaution, but probably not needed. I did not have the flu that year. (may or may not have had anything to do with the shot.) just pregnancy problems.

 

eta: so yes, for immune compromised, I'd do the shot - even if I didn't think it was needed. for a normal healthy person who does not work with young infants or old people, or a healthcare setting, I'd probably not bother.

Edited by gardenmom5
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We do not. I do not have a profound reason, I just think it's unnecessary for your average healthy person.

 

:iagree: We do not have compromised immune systems, we do not hang around with populations which would put us at increased risk.

 

We did get the nasal drops the year the bird flu was going around

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Personally, I don't view the flu as a risk to be avoided.

 

I also am not a fan of putting chemicals in bodies without a very good reason. I also need a very good reason to budget my family's time and money for something that isn't even fun.

 

I have heard that the shot isn't that effective and also that it makes some people sick.

 

If I had someone in the household or whom I often see who would be at serious risk if exposed to the flu, I would take that into consideration.

:iagree: Pretty much exactly what I would say!

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I'm a big believer in natural immunity to things like the flu. Our bodies are designed to do what it needs to do. For this same reason, and letting the body do what it is designed for, I don't treat fevers until they go above 103, either. When I do, I also try not to get rid of the fever, but just bring it down to below 103.

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Agree, with others.

-Don't feel Flu is a dire risk, as we are relatively healthy family. If we had other health circumstances where Flu could cause a more dire situation, perhaps we would view it differently. Flu is not fun, but for us, it is highly unlikely to cause death.

 

-Distrust of drug companies. Too many situations where one takes medicine intended to help and it only makes life worse. The recent Meningitis situation with the injected steriods for back issues comes to mind as just one recent issue. Have heard of people getting expired flu vaccines, etc. It's all about the $$$ for drug companies.

 

-Again, prefer to avoid chemicals injected into the body. Sometimes we just need to let the body do what it needs to do, if it is a healthy functioning body and can do it. Ie, let the Immune system do it's job.

 

-Too many stories where Flu vaccine actually caused people to feel flu-ish afterwards. Why make ourselves feel bad unnecessarily?

 

 

The bolded. Dd and I survived swine flu and now have natural immunity to that one. I'd prefer natural immunity to chemical any day.

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The flu shot doesn't protect against all possible strains of flu, so I don't really see the point unless someone is at particularly high risk (elderly, works in health care, etc). I've never had the flu shot and I've only ever had the flu twice and I think two of my kids have each had it once, if I remember correctly. I've heard people say that after having the flu, they will always get the flu shot, and I agree that having the flu is miserable; but I think healthy people can resist the flu pretty well without the shot. My oncologist recommends that I get the flu shot, but I haven't because my wbc don't run low enough that my immunity is compromised. I dread having the flu if I do get it, since everything hits me harder than it used to; but since I'm not immuno-crompromised, I think the odds are still in my favor that I won't get the flu most years. I did suggest to my 18 yo that she get a flu shot this year because she lives in a dorm.

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DD is "suppose" to get a flu shot because she is allergic to Tamiflu but we haven't done it. We just don't see the point of subjecting her to pain when 9 chances out of 10 she won't get it anyway. Besides dh's grandpa had a flu shot last month and ended up in the hospital with all kinds of wierd stuff going on and none of it appeared until about 15 minutes after his shot.

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