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Get your flu shot

  1. Jan 6, 2019 #1

    BWV

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    80,000 people died of flu and nearly a million were hospitalized in the US last season -this season’s strains are not as bad, but the vaccine is an easy preventative.

    Unfortunately a recent study found something like half of americans mistakenly believe flu vaccines can cause the flu.
    https://www.orlandosentinel.com/health/os-ne-orlando-health-flu-survey-20181015-story.html


    Flu vaccines may not completely prevent you from getting the flu, but they reduce the severity of symptoms and risk of death

    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2019 #2
    May I also suggest getting the 'decadal' pneumonia vaccine ? Again, it may not prevent the illness, but it should mitigate it...

    On a darker note, should there be a 'Spanish Flu' grade epidemic and your hospital declares 'Code Black', your vaccinations will give you valuable triage points. Literally, if given some care, you're much more likely to survive than the 'Anti-Vaxxers' to either side...

    FWIW, after my FIL had a very, very bad heart attack, so would be bed-ridden for long weeks in Winter, at high risk of 'hospital pneumonia' if a second cardiac event didn't strike, the fact he'd had his seasonal 'flu' vaccination and his decadal pneumonia vaccination swung the balance of treatment from 'palliative / DNR' to 'active'.

    Three months later, he'd beat the estimated <10 % odds of survival, was home and convalescing...
     
  4. Jan 6, 2019 #3

    Klystron

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    Thanks for reiterating the need for up-to-date vaccinations. My parents and grandparents sadly described the "missing generation" following the 1917-18 influenza pandemic. My father and nonagenarian uncle complained as children of "no one to play with"; in New York City (!).
     
  5. Jan 6, 2019 #4
    Just to be clear that is 2017. That number is really astonishing and I am ashamed to say I missed this year's flu vaccination and now I think it's a bit too late.
     
  6. Jan 6, 2019 #5

    berkeman

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    I work part-time in EMS, so getting a flu shot is a no-brainer for me. I try to get it as early as possible, basically in the first couple weeks that the vaccine is available.
    My wife gets mildly sick right after getting her annual flu shot, but not with a flu. Her system is a bit sensitive, so she just feels lousy for a couple of days. She's gotten used to it, and understands the value of getting vaccinated. (She spends a lot of time with the grandkids, who are little germ magnets)
    Nah, never too late until this year's new blend comes out near the end of the year. Go for it! :smile:
     
  7. Jan 6, 2019 #6
    No, still time if stocks allow.

    May protect you against a 'double hump' 'flu season.
     
  8. Jan 6, 2019 #7

    jim mcnamara

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    No, @Greg Bernhardt - it is definitely not too late for a flu shot.

    H1N1 flu was the pathogen that killed 600000 people in the US - in 1919. Most victims were under the age of 25.

    Currently in the US, H1N1 (swine flu) is the most prevalent extant flu variant. Swine flu variants originate in China.
    Flu virus roadmap:
    1. Wild duck populations harbor dozens of flu variants, H1N1 included
    2. Wild ducks swim and dabble in a pond where farmer Xeng has his domestic ducks during the day.
    3. The domestic ducks get the flu variants. For most ducks this is not life threatening. Good news is ducks cannot transmit flu to humans.
    4. Bad news: pigs can and do transmit flu to humans. So all we need now is a way to give the flu to the pigs. :eek:
    5. Xeng and everyone else in the village traditionally keep pigs in a night shelter right next to the ducks.
    6. Pigs wallow in duck poop, pick up the flu variant, then donate the variant to Xeng's family who in turn donate it to friends and visitors.
    7. Voila, a pandemic in the making. All we need now is lots of people who did not get the flu shot to help spread the germs everywhere.

    This is why it is called swine flu. And also part of the reason why new variants of swine flu arise in the human population.
    PS: the flu shot protects against H1N1 specifically.
     
  9. Jan 6, 2019 #8

    russ_watters

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    Alarming answers in that survey aside, I'm someone who usually has a reaction to the shot, and as such I usually don't get one. I rarely get the flu, so for me it is a calculation of a high probability of being mildly sick for 2 days vs a 10% chance of 5 days of very sick with the flu. I recognize my choice reduces herd immunity and I'm not saying it's right, but that's game theory for you. [shrug]

    Here's the thing though: my calculus is going to change when I get older. At middle-age, in good shape, a flu is very unlikely to kill me. When I'm 70, the risk will be much higher so the downside of getting very sick vs few days mildly sick will be higher.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  10. Jan 7, 2019 #9

    symbolipoint

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    russ_watters, both you and Greg should definitely have the flu vaccination - and every year! How long do you believe you can trust your "only mildly sick" effect?

    There were a couple of times or so when I skipped flu vax, and I became sick - with something - maybe influenza. I never want anything like that again. You've been lucky.
     
  11. Jan 8, 2019 #10

    cobalt124

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    I qualified for a free flu shot so had it for the first time about four months ago (no side effects), have also been recommended the pneumonia shot, but haven't had that. About this time of year I'm usually off work with flu, but so far so good.
     
  12. Jan 8, 2019 #11
    Should everyone try to get that too? Why not right?
     
  13. Jan 8, 2019 #12

    jim mcnamara

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    There are two primary variants of the pneumonia shot. In the US most insurance companies cover them both.
    Other adults:
    https://www.cdc.gov/features/adult-pneumococcal/index.html
    There are lots of conditions related to medications or preexisting conditions for which both shots are recommended. Pneumococcal pneumonia kills a lot of adults. My diabetic adult kids got both shots, for example.
     
  14. Jan 8, 2019 #13

    Ygggdrasil

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    https://www.cdc.gov/features/adult-pneumococcal/index.html

    Presumably this is because older people are more susceptible to pneumonia and serious complications related to pnemonia. It is also recommended for smokers and people with other health conditions that render them more susceptible to pneumonia.
     
  15. Jan 8, 2019 #14

    russ_watters

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    The thing with insurance is that you are pretty much guaranteed to need it if you wait long enough, but that one loss doesn't necessarily make it worth having. If I get the flu it'll be a really bad week I could have avoided that year. But it won't negate the weeks of not being sick I've had due to not getting it.

    Unfortunately it is difficult to find sober analysis of an individual's cost/benefit for the flu shot. It's crackpots on one side and people/institutions not focused on the individual on the other.
     
  16. Jan 8, 2019 #15
    Just got my flu shot!
     
  17. Jan 8, 2019 #16
    I suspect the problem in looking at a cost benefit analysis is that it changes every year, it really boils down to how good the predictions are for the main strains circulating. Last year the effectiveness was quite low, so far this year it looks like they are spot on. In the UK they only recommend it for people thought to be at risk or for people who might facilitate its spread, but it it widely available if people want it. There have also been some improvements in the vaccine's this year to make them more effective in people with reduced immune competence
     
  18. Jan 8, 2019 #17

    berkeman

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    This is a key point from my perspective (speaking with my EMS hat on). In addition to the selfish aspect of making the decision whether to get the flu shot or not (to avoid the pain and lost work from a week or more of illness, and to avoid giving your family members the flu), there is an altruistic aspect where you understand that it's a responsibility in society to mitigate the chance of the propagation of the illness (or worse yet a full-blown pandemic).

    There are several things that can factor into that "altruistic" decision:
    • How much do you travel?
    • How many people do you work with daily at your office (do you work at home by yourself, or in a large office)?
    • How quickly do you usually detect that you feel like you are getting sick?
    • Do you have an easy way to take your temperature if you feel like you are getting sick?
    • When you are at work, and start feeling like you might be getting sick, and you take your temperature (or have one of your medical folks take it for you) and it's elevated, do you leave work right away, or keep working through the rest of the day?
    • Do you have a family that you live with, or do you live alone?
    • If you live with family members, are they in age groups (or have a previous illness history) so that they are more likely to die from being infected?
    • How reliable are you at following the rule that you stay home if you have the flu, and don't return to work or contact others until you are fever free for at least 24 hours (while NSAID free)?
    @russ_watters is a friend, (plus he knows where I live), so I'm not going to bad-mouth him about not getting the vaccine. But from my perspective, the tradeoff calculation depends on more than just whether it makes you feel bad for a couple of days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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