I didn’t travel for Thanksgiving this year. Myself and my family stayed home.
And it was a first.
I wish I could tell you we stayed home because we wanted a “quiet” Thanksgiving or didn’t want to travel. Nope. We stayed home because my 13-year old son had the flu.
And not just any flu, mind you. My poor first-born son had the worst flu I’d ever seen. Full on respiratory, plus stomach, plus high-fever, plus joint pain…flu.
He was down and out for five days. Four of those days he had a temperature above 100 (and two days of being about 102.5.) Two of those days he had stomach issues. And one day his temperature was so high (104.1), he was hallucinating (yeah, good times.)
Dude, our Thanksgiving sucked.
It sucked for my son because he was sick as a dog. It sucked for my daughter because she missed out on traveling to my husband’s family (and that meant no cousin time and early Christmas presents.) It sucked for me because I was the only one my son wanted. And it sucked for my husband, because well, he had to keep everything going, including grocery shopping on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
And, it was during those five days I contemplated my stance on saying “NO” to family flu shots.
For years, I have been a “NO” to getting a flu shot. Call me arrogant, but I believed with a good diet, enough rest, and washing hands like it was going out of style that I could stay cold and flu-free.
Well, karma decided to show herself this year and my arrogance knocked me on my butt. And it was a little serendipitous because one of my partners (Children’s Mercy Hospital) had asked me to write an article of flu shots at the end of November.
So, I began researching and here are my findings.
Family Flu Shots…Yay or Nay?
1. YAY. According to the CDC, doctors suggest the single best way to protect against the flu is to get a flu shot (not the mist). Flu shots are recommended for everyone over the age of six months. Noting that the flu can be serious for kids five-years and under, and especially those under two years.
2. YAY. The flu shot can not give you the flu. I was always hesitant about putting a “virus” into myself or my kids, but after researching I realized flu shots are made from an inactivated flu virus, so it cannot give you the flu.
3. NAY. While the flu shot is important to not getting the flu, it doesn’t stop the spread of the flu. Preventing the virus from spreading still comes down to washing hands frequently, wiping down commonly used surfaces with soap/water, and cough/sneezing into tissues.
4. YAY. The flu peaks at different times every year. Sometimes it is January/February, other times it is December. The flu shot doesn’t loose “intensity” if you get it earlier. So, having the rest of my family get it now is just as good as if we got it in October.
So, needless to say, the rest of our family will be getting a flu shot this year. Please, know, that I understand this is a personal decision and there are no right or wrong answers. But sometimes the “facts” in our head are not necessarily the right facts. (This article on Flu Myth Busters helped me come to my conclusion.)
Is an annual flu shot part of your family’s routing? Why or why not? I’m still getting data…so if you have any, I’d love to know.
PS: If it should happen to you, here are 10 Things To Do When Your Kids Get The Flu … just in case.
Make sure to follow Children’s Mercy Hospital on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more flu prevention information.
Disclosure: Children’s Mercy is a partner of RedefinedMom. However, the written remarks and opinions are entirely my own. Want more information – check out my full disclosure statement.
I personally get a flu shot every year because it’s required in my workplace. It’s not my favorite thing because it’s a SHOT! I hate them BUT I resigned myself to getting them yearly because of the requirement. I don’t have my 13-year-old daughter get the shot.. up until this year she’s been homeschooled. Now I’m thinking I may need to rethink this. I also realized years ago that when I got the flu shot I was protecting myself in case my family got it and I could still take care of them. On another note… did you know that the flu shot actually doesn’t get into your system and provide the protection until two weeks after you receive the shot? So you could still get the flu in the couple of weeks following the shot. ugh.
Per the CDC, last year’s flu shot was only 19% effective overall. As a healthcare professional, I have struggled with getting the “mandatory” flu shot, but haven’t for the past several years. I prefer to treat my family homeopathically for flu prevention, and we have been flu free since we started 5+ years ago.