Ignore the pseudoscience; get a flu shot for the greater good

Hilary Hamilton  Staff Writer

As a very young child, I was sick a lot.  My immune system was a mess, and by the time I reached kindergarten and received an allergen test, my family found out that I was allergic to everything in the environment including chocolate and grass.

After seven years of allergy shots, I was able to mow down a Snickers and low crawl through a field.  Thus began my love affair with medicine, and specifically shots.

The reason I tell this story is because I have never loved shots, but I have always loved the result.

As a sick child, I received them weekly for several years resulting in an ability to breathe outdoors and occasionally partake in a brownie.

As an adult in the military, I am constantly subjected to a barrage of vaccinations and blood draws which have kept me generally healthy since I joined almost ten years ago.

For the longest time, I did not question what was in the syringe being injected into my arm.

Growing up, I knew it was going to make my arm hurt, my nose stuffy, and my eyes itchy and watery.

But through that experience, I learned that sometimes greater health comes at a minor inconvenience.

DMACC just had a flu shot clinic.  Hy-Vee is offering 20 cents off per gallon if you get your flu shot there.  If you are considering skipping your flu shot this year, I would like to ask you to reconsider.

This season, an injectable vaccine helps protect not only you, but the people around you from the flu, which causes 100 to over 700,000 hospitalizations depending on the year, and has caused up to 56,000 deaths in one year.  The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine by the end of this month.

If you’re legitimately worried about the contents of the vaccine (usually a three or four component inactivated virus with an adjuvant of squalene oil) ask your doctor or multiple doctors about it.  There are numerous pseudoscientific claims regarding vaccines… too many to include in this piece.    

The complaint that I most often hear from people who don’t want to get the flu shot is that they get sick from it.  My response to that is:  no.

The reason we get a flu shot before flu season is because it takes two to three weeks to work.

If you’re getting sick in those two to three weeks afterwards, could it be because you did not perform your due diligence and get it within the recommended time frame?  It’s pretty unlikely that the entire medical community is in on a conspiracy to get you sick and spend $20 for the shot.

In the case of vaccines, I implore you not to be an individual.  Be one of the herd; contribute to our overall immunity.

For double stuff Oreos, I’d do another seven years of shots.  I’ll definitely do one more to keep myself and others out of the hospital.  You should, too.

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