Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Flu Be Gone!

It’s that time of year when every doctor’s office, pharmacy superstore and grocery store are beginning to set up their stations for flu shots.  There is still some debate over the flu shot or influenza vaccine, but there are certainly some things to consider.

(Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant and in no way, shape or form am I dispensing medical advice…these are my personal views based on my personal experience and information received from esteemed medical professionals)

I remember about fifteen years ago friends of mine were getting the influenza vaccine.  I decided that year, even though I had received it previously, to forgo that year’s vaccine.  I took a trip to visit my family in early January and on the plane began feeling ill.  Unfortunately, I spent the next three weeks in bed with one emergency room visit for severe dehydration.  Needless to say I’ve been in line every year since then to protect myself.  My medical provider sends out preprinted forms because they want to encourage me to get my vaccine since I’m in a high risk category.

So what’s the truth about the vaccine.  First and foremost, please consult your doctor before venturing out on your own and just getting the vaccine.  Many who are considered high risk, including all of us with chronic and life-threatening illness are encouraged to get the vaccine.  The one big caveat is if you are truly deathly allergic to eggs.

Last night I heard a microbiology lecture by Dr. Christine Nyquist, head of pediatric infectious disease and The Children’s Hospital.  Her recommendation is to get the vaccine.  The bacteria from someone sneezing or coughing can sit on a plastic or metal table for up to 48 hours.  I know I don’t clear my entire house every 24 hours.

As the weather changes and we become more aware of the impact the winter months can have on our health it’s important to take this one step in being your own health advocate, check to see if you should get the influenza vaccine.  You could be saving yourself needless health complications and by avoiding the flu you can devote your energy and focus on your journey to healing.