Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Flu Shot

It's flu season, and once again, flu shots are being offered. I used to take flu shots years ago, but then I stopped. It's not because I think it's stupid or a waste of time. And it's true that I still got the flu after taking the shots. But the real reason I stopped taking flu shots was because I think I may be allergic to them, which was kind of surprising!

I was told repeatedly that if you are allergic to eggs, then don't take the flu shot. Well, I'm not allergic to eggs, and I went and took the flu shot for a few years. And each year, I got sicker and sicker. The first year, it started with my arm being sore and a hard lump where the shot was injected. I felt weak and dizzy for those two weeks. The following years, I just kept getting worse after receiving the shots. In addition to weakness and dizziness, I started breaking out in sweats and ached all over my body. I felt horrible and just wanted to lay in bed. The last year I took the shot was the worst!

In addition to the previous symptoms, I became disoriented and started blacking out. I would wake up and find myself laying fully clothed in the hallway, or tub, or the kitchen floor soaked with sweat and, to my embarrassment, drooled all over where I passed out! And this wasn't from getting drunk! I was disoriented for two weeks; kept barely alive by fluids and yogurt and ice cream. I don't remember much, other than the ache in my limbs and feeling of generalized weakness. I do remember a few instances where I crawled to bed or on the sofa after waking up on the floor. I also recall some weird dreams where I think I saw and heard some friends. Actually, two of them claimed to have visited me after I called them and I sounded confused on the phone. Each said they had tried to take me to the hospital, but I refused and seemed lucid. They each reportedly brought over some food that I devoured. The scary thing is that I don't remember any of that happening! And that's when I decided that maybe the flu shot isn't worth it. I may be allergic to it!

Now, a few years after not taking the flu shot, I can honestly say I've not caught the flu! Sure, I still get the occasional cold, but it's a lot better than the reaction I got with the flu shot. Would I advise people to take the flu shot? Only if it works for you! If the flu shot has been good to you, then keep on getting them. If not, then don't be like me, taking it because I was told it was good for me when it was actually bad. It was like being in an abusive relationship! I kept putting up with the bad side effects thinking things will get better; believing that it was for my own good til it almost killed me, finally making me come to my senses! Lesson learned: Don't give into the pressure! Learn to think for yourself, and trust your instincts. Just because everyone else is doing something doesn't mean it'll be good for you, too. And wash your hands. There's a lot of filth out there and hand washing keeps those germs away!

25 comments:

  1. That sounds terrifying! I got a flu shot last year and didn't have any bad reactions. If I get a flu shot this year, I kind of want to wait until this cold I have now is over, which it almost is.

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  2. Wow, that's an extreme reaction. I get my flu shot faithfully, although I did get flu last year (but not the one it protected me from - my ex had that and I never got it from him). You're right about hand washing - it's the key.

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  3. Tara, that's good the flu shots work for you. I think they're very important in preventing the flu. I think it's very smart of you to wait to get over your cold before getting that flu shot.

    Snooze, I'm glad the flu shots work for you. If they worked for me, I'd still be taking them.

    Washing hands is important. I cringe when I see people leave the restroom without washing their hands. You never know where their filthy hands will spread germs! God help us if they work in the food industry!

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  4. I recently lost three days wages because a colleague came to work sick instead of keeping her germs at home.

    Harumph.

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  5. A dose of your own medicine. It stands to reason that you would initially feel ill since you are in fact being infected with a variation of last year's Flu.

    I'm delighted that it is working. It's hard not to catch viral infections because nobody ever washes their hands! WHY? WHY? WHY?

    I cna't touch elevator buttons or escalator handrails ((bleccch)) I'd rather land on my face thankyouverymuch!

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  6. My mom is 89 years old. She had a flu shot on Thursday, and on Friday morning she woke up completely deaf in one ear. The next day she suffered from severe vertigo and nausea. A trip to the emergency dept brought the nausea and vertigo and under control, but the deafness still persists as of Wednesday.

    No explanantion so far for the hearing loss

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  7. MJ, if I were a lawyer, I'd sue that Typhoid Mary for your lost wages and suffering! Then I would ask the court she be taken to handwashing rehab--I'm sure any kindergarten class can teach her the necesary skills! Hope you're feeling better.

    Donn, it's so true! I feel the same way about restroom door handles! I have to grab some paper towels and then use them to open the door. Thank goodness the grocery store I shop at provides sanitary wipes for carts! That attenuated virus in the flu shot about annhilated my a$$!

    Anonymous, I hope it's a temporary deafness; is she on any antibiotics? Some of them can cause hearing loss, vertigo, and nausea during use. A viral infection can cause sudden hearing loss. Hopefully, it's something treatable, if not temporary. I wish her the best health and a speedy recovery. Hopefully, things will on get better from here on out. Best wishes and good health to you and your mom.

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  8. Crikey! It sounds like the bark was worse than the bite!

    I don't know if we have flu shots over here? I've never heard anyone talk about them, and I certainly haven't had one. And I haven't had the flu, either.
    A couple of people at work have moaned about having the flu, but I'm sure it was just a bad cold.
    Flu probably doesn't like the incessant rain that the UK has - It seems to prefer other climes.

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  9. IVD you can get them over here but they usually only advise you have them if your an 'at risk' group ,ie really old of have asthma or something like that.
    Eors , I had a similar allergic reaction to Zyban the smoke stop drug , and had to be fished out of a freezer cabinet in the supermarket that I keeled over into ....When security fished me out, I was stumbling about , muttering about 'the drugs' (trying to explain meself) , I promptly got thrown out of the shop (on my ass) and was banned from returning.......all very embarrassing.
    Dont you'all get anally retentive about picking up germs from touching stuff , its the very process that keeps your immune system fired up and repelling borders. I am not sugessting licking door handles , but a bit of contact with grime is good :-)

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  10. Oops I seem to have a ew typo's in that comment :-(
    its the drugs you know
    ***stumbles off ***

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  11. That sounds nasty.

    I've never had the flu shot after being offered for the past 4 years. I don't like shots and don't take medicine unless I'm sick or unless it's life threatning. For me, a flu is not.

    For my (if I still had any) grandparents it might be.

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  12. IDV, the flu shots are recommended, esp. for the elderly or people who work closely with others or are prone to upper respiratory infections. They seem to work well for people not allergic to them. But it sure was awful dealing with the bad reaction! It was worse than the flu!

    The great number of elderly and people in closed spaces makes the flu spread easily around here. Also, filthy people don't wash their hands and spread their germs!

    Beast x2, that is terrible (and funny) about you getting tossed out because of a bad reaction to a drug! I can't believe they didn't at least call for medical assistance! Rude and Uncaring!

    It's not about being anally retentive about picking up germs from surfaces! It's about avoiding germs that may have come from anal surfaces!

    CP, good point. There're immunizations that you need and there're ones that you don't. As long as your life isn't in danger, then the choice should be easy. I share your philosophy: I don't take medicine unless I'm really sick or my life is in danger or am in excruciating pain.

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  13. In regards to your response to Beastie, maybe you should find a supermarket where the shoppers are less likely to wipe or/scratch their arses without washing their hands afterwards?

    Just a thought *winks*

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  14. Oh lord I cause a degeneration in the comments :-(
    I just meant , you know , in general everyone seems to be more fearful of germs , all the advertising for wipes and sprays expliot this

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  15. CP, the main grocery store I use a lot, thankfully, supplies sanitary wipes for shopping carts! That being said, I still wash most of the fruits and veggies when I get them home, because who knows what kind of perverts have been poking and handling them?

    Beast, it's true, it does seem like the hygiene industry is taking advantage of the easily spooked public. But I do think if it makes people a little more conscious about the dangers of germs and the importance of hand washing, then a little paranoia is a good thing.

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  16. Mutley, that is quite a disturbing dream...were you reading MJ's blog before bedtime? Some of the pictures there are sure to induce nightmares!

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  17. Speak of the devil! I mean...

    MJ, your blog always inspires (and terrifies) the masses....no amount of hand washing can remove that dirty feeling...

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  18. A good scrubbing with bleach and a stiff wire brush doesnt work iether....I still have the 'Filthy Friday ' feeling

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  19. I've had a flu shot I think once in my life, and it made me feel worse than if I hadn't had it.

    Personally, I almost never get sick. And I figure that's because I'm basically a slob.

    I'm a firm believer in letting my body do what it was designed to do -- without artificial aids.

    That means exposing it to germs and letting it fight off those germs. And it usually does.

    The health industry and the pharmaceutical industry have convinced us we need their products.

    Sometimes that's true, and some of this has to do with DNA. But we pop pills way too often, so our bodies don't get the chance to fight off natural bugs.

    It's kind of the old thing -- use it (our body's natural ability to fight off bugs) or lose it.

    And I think we largely have.

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  20. WW, I hear ya! I hate having to take pills! I have to be dying before I even entertain the thought of going to a hospital!

    True, there are some really good things in medicine, but sometimes, we keep asking for the easy fix that might harm us in the long run. It scary to think that the antibiotics can barely keep up with germs who're getting stronger, adapting to the drugs. It's scary to think that the drugs we used to fight off the germs have only made them stronger--and made pharmaceuticals richer!

    I think the hardest thing about health is trying to find the balance between what's natural and what can be harmful in the long run.

    All I know is that the flu shot about killed me!

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  21. As a nurse, I get the flu shot every year so I don't end up inadvertently killing some of my patients. If I got the flu and went to work before I was really ill, I could spread it to them (and they are all immuno-compromised due to kidney failure) and potentially kill off a few. Don't think I would feel too good about that.

    I am like WW and am a firm believer in letting your immune system build antibodies to bugs to have it's own arsenal for fighting infections. I rarely get sick either and onlt take meds if I have to.

    I do wash my hands though (probably too much but it's an occupational hazard) and cough and sneeze into my bent arm and not my hand. But I am not a clean freak and never use antibacterial anything at home. I have been exposed to more shit than you can imagine (really, I mean that) from both humans and animals, so figure I have a pretty healthy immune system!

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  22. Ponygirl, I cringe when people just sneeze without covering their mouths; then they make it worse by just wiping their hands on everything...ugh!

    I'm glad the flu shot works for you and that it helps stop infection from harming you and your patients. Let's hear it for hand washing, still the most effect way to prevent infection!

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