I have come to the conclusion that I will not take a flu shot anymore. I believe that it decreases the strength of my immune system, rather than increasing it. In fact, I might consider a nasal version with live virus, as it seems it would make my immune system work to fight it. Perhaps I am weird about this, but I have been dealing with a weakened immune system ever since the first gulf war, and want to improve it.
"They tell us, Sir, that we are weak -- unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power." - Patrick Henry (1736-1799) in his famous "The War Inevitable" speech, March, 1775
|In fact, I might consider a nasal version with live virus|
I think it is a nasal spray, which contains a weakened, but live virus. That way, you get a mild case of the flu, which strengthens your immune system so that a strong virus can't even start on your system. It is not good for people with already weak immune systems such as the elderly or transplant recipients.
For example, my wife has asthma, so she is very susceptible to the flu and is not a good candidate for the nasal version of the flu. Staying on the topic of flu shots, there are now stories of price gouging because of the shortage. Here is an example from USAToday.com
|Prices began climbing within hours of last week's quarantine by British regulators of vaccine produced there in plants owned by California-based Chiron, cutting the U.S. supply by about half.|
Some hospitals said Wednesday that they had been offered flu vaccine for prices ranging from $400 to $900 a 10-dose vial. Normally, those vials sell for $80 to $100
After speaking with my pharmacist friend, here's her words to the wary (in my paraphrasing):
The live flu nasal spray, also known as FluMist, should not be administered to anyone under 5, and because it's live virus it is possible to spread that to others who may be at risk. Avoid children younger than 5, asthmatics, and people with immune disorders, undergoing treatment for cancer, pregnant, nursing, etc etc. The vaccine hasn't been long-term tested.
~~ So basically, it's okay for folks between the ages of 5 and 49 only, and people basically already in good health. It's not for the immune-challenged, or for the very young or very old, because it WILL cause a case of the flu -- mild, yes, but dangerous for those already at risk. She says you can probably find this info on some of the web medical sites.
My question is, if you're already in the age range to NOT get a flu shot and you are in relatively good health... why do you need a flu vaccine in the first place? I've never had one and don't intend to until I'm designated as high risk to die from influenza. It seems pointless otherwise.
In my opinion, of course.
I think the reason for healthy adults to get the flu shot is to help prevent an epidemic. In the early 1900's millions died as a result of a flu epidemic. In fact, more US soldiers were lost to influenza during WW1 than to enemy gunfire.
Most people get a virus in the winter and think they have the flu. They do not. Influenza is a very nasty illness that will make even the healthiest person pretty miserable for quite a while.
Even if you are not at great risk of dying from it, before you come down with the symptoms, you are spreading the virus. When you go to the mall, or to your daughter's school, work, etc., you are exposing others. Many of them are at risk of dying from it. So, I think one reason for healthy people to get the shot is, if you get the shot, it is possible you won't get the virus and then not be able to spread it.
Obviously, that isn't an option this year. I won't get the nasal mist. To me, that also puts others at risk. Am I going to get the mist and go home for 3 days? Not likely. I will still go to work, the mall, etc. So, since I am not at great risk of dying from influenza (which incidently doesn't mean I won't die from it), I think it is better to chance getting influenza rather than getting the mist and spreading it around. Not to mention, if long term studies haven't been done, I am not interested in being a guinea pig.
|That way, you get a mild case of the flu, which strengthens your immune system so that a strong virus can't even start on your system|
Quote from FOXNews.com
|No Shortage of Flu Shots on Capitol Hill|
WASHINGTON - President Bush isn't getting one. Attorney General John Ashcroft (search) isn't getting one.
But many members on Capitol Hill are reaching out for flu shots despite a major shortage that will leave the United States shy of about 45 million inoculations this year. Despite the deficit in influenza vaccines, the result of a contamination in the doses produced by British-owned Chiron Corp. about 2,000 shots are available to members and staffers on Capitol Hill at no charge
Perhaps they do come into contact with a lot of people every day, but so do other people in different occupations. Consider it another "perk" for being a member of the U.S. Congress.