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Author Topic: Scared to get the flu shot  (Read 452 times)

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Offline Chantelle

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Scared to get the flu shot
« on: January 13, 2014, 09:49:47 AM »
I need some support here.

With H1N1 going around quite prominently the rational side of me says I should get a flu shot. I often have wheezing in my lungs and know I am at higher risk of having complications. I also have a 16 month old son and want to protect him as much as I can. The problem: I'm scared to get the shot! Not worried about pain or needles but worried about all the horrible things I have read on the web about it! I know it's not rational but when you read about the random person dying from getting the flu shot it totally freaks me out. I also read about it having ingredients that could harm your immune system, etc. etc.

What should I do?? I know I would feel relieved and more relaxed to leave my home if I knew I was protected. I'm just afraid to get it!
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Offline br350

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2014, 10:21:22 AM »
Unfortunately, my experience with this year's flu shot was negative.   I normally NEVER get flu shots but I let my primary convince me to this year.  I got the shot Dec. 18th and my arm has been sore in the area of the shot ever since.  It has really affected my shoulder and I can't sleep on that side.  I corresponded with my doctor about it and he said it should resolve but it's possible that a nerve was irritated by the shot.  He says that his arm was sore for a month afterwards after he got his last year.   The shot was given up very high on the arm and I don't doubt that this is what happened.  Unlike many other shots I've had, it hurt REALLY bad going in as well.  I am so mad I allowed myself to be talked into this when, for me, I knew I probably didn't need this vaccination.

I understand your concerns and I think most people have NO problem at all with this shot.   I think if you are truly concerned about getting the flu, it is worth considering the shot.   I never get flu vaccines and my son got the flu, along with me, at age 2.  He did not eat for a week, had a fever and laid on the couch for 7 solid days.  He lost a lot weight but he made it through just fine.  It was harrowing to watch as a parent but he got through it.   Before anyone tells me what a bad mom I was for not getting him the flu shot, please know that he has a lot of allergies and I was scared to ignite something in him by getting him this shot.   He is almost 15 now and has never had the flu since.    Our bodies are well enough equipped to fight these things.

I'm sorry if my response is not that helpful.  :(   Please, follow your gut.   You can never go wrong if you go with your instincts.
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Offline Brick5711

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2014, 10:55:28 AM »
Just because you get a shot doesn't mean you are protected. That's just what doctors want you to think. Wear a face mask when you go out if you are afraid. My family has never gotten the flu shot. I think the stuff we put into our bodies without letting our natural immune system fight them is a big cause of many cancers and weak immune systems.
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Offline Chantelle

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 12:06:23 PM »
br350: I'm sorry you had a bad experience. Although...talking like a true hypo...at least a really sore arm is better than something worse? Hope it feels better soon!

I had the flu two years ago when I was pregnant and it was a horrible experience. I hadn't experienced the flu in over 15 years and it had me flat on my back for a long time. I couldn't even take my dog out to use the washroom and had to get my husband to drive 30 min. from work every day to let him out! Needless, to say I don't want to experience that again.

Brick5711: I'm aware that the flu shot isn't a cure for the flu. I'm most concerned about H1N1. You can correct me if I'm wrong but the vaccine includes immunization for H1N1 which means I would be immune to that strain, right?
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Offline marc

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2014, 12:15:46 PM »
My doctor told me getting the flu shot is like wearing a safety belt in your car.
It improves your odds. I did not get one yet, as I have had a bacterial infection that
is being treated by antibiotics. I have never got one however and neither has
my wife who is a pharmacist.
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Offline br350

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 12:16:15 PM »
Yes, it really sucks.  I am so angry at myself that I let myself get talked into and now I'm here 4 weeks later with a really sore shoulder issue.  And as far as having HA, it has initiated a flare for me because I wonder what the shot has done to my shoulder joint, etc.  I agree with Brick5711 that the shot is probably not really necessary for most people.

To answer your question, yes, this year's flu vaccine does indeed contain H1N1.  If you go to the CDC site and look at the flu season link you can find what the vaccine has in it.   

I know the flu is bad.  I've had it probably 2 times in the past 12 years and it was pretty ugly.   But I will never get a flu shot again.   But I know many people at my work who got theirs and they are all fine so don't let the 'negative' reports deter you if you really feel you want to get.  You know what is best for you and what your past experience has been.

Good luck and let us know how you made out!  Hang in there!
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Offline Chantelle

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 03:14:52 PM »
Marc, seeing as your wife works in the medical community what are her reasons for not getting the shot?

Br350, thanks. I will let you know how it goes if I decide to go through with it. I made an appointment earlier today with my doctor then chickened out of going! Think I will talk to my husband about it some more and try to make a more rational, informed decision...if that's possible, lol!
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 03:20:10 PM »
Hi, I never used to get a flu shot, but I was so tired of getting the flu every year I decided to get one, and have every year for about the last three years. I think what made me start getting vaccinated was the fear of catching the H1N1 strain.   

The first time I got the vaccine I just had a sore shoulder for a couple days, which is a common side-effect.

Then the next year I decided to get my shot at the local Walgreens. I don't know exactly what happened but my arm had the most intense pain afterward, from my shoulder down to my hand. I thought maybe it was just a big needle or that it hit a nerve or I was very tense when I got the shot so it hurt more than it would have if I would have been relaxed.

This year I decided to skip Walgreens and I got my flu vaccine at my doctors office, with no problems afterward.

According to the reading material I have gotten about the flu shot, complications are rare to occur.

It's one of those weighing the benefits with the risks things. I personally getting the flu is more likely to happen than having a complication from the vaccine.
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Offline Chantelle

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2014, 04:01:20 PM »
CarrieAnn, thank you for your reply. Your rationalization is what I try to tell myself (chance of getting the flu are a million times higher than having a reaction to the shot).

I'm realizing that my fear of reaction comes from an incident that happened to me a couple years ago. I was taking a medication  for a UTI during pregnancy when I developed a massive allergic reaction to my meds. I broke out in large hives all over, my hands, feet and lips swelled, and I felt like I was having a stroke (I got really light headed, hit the ground in my kitchen and my hands were "buzzing") it was HORRIBLE. Since then I have this irrational fear of having another reaction to a medication because it was so scary. I've been on two antibiotics since without a problem but I still get scared to take anything hence where my fear of vaccines comes in!
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 04:31:30 PM »
Hi Chantelle, how ironic!! I also had an allergic reaction to an anti-biotic that I took for a UTI! It happened back in 1998. It was a sulpha drug. I had hives all over---even on my ears and feet! I remember being in the shower feeling as though I couldn't breath, and almost blacked out. I got over that horrible reaction, but at the time I was working at a deli (family owned) and was told I had to get the Hepatitis A vaccine if I wanted to continue working there. I was so afraid to get it because of the allergic reaction I had to the anti-biotic, I just kept putting it off.  But eventually, with much coaxing by the people at work, I got it, and was fine.

I can definitely understand your fear now because I felt the same fear.

I can't really tell you to get the vaccine or not because it is your choice, but for me I guess it's just a chance I'm willing to take to avoid catching the flu.

Best of luck :)
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Offline Chantelle

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 10:22:39 PM »
No way?! I'm sorry you had to experience something similar to what I went through. Guess it might not be quite as uncommon as we think! In the same instance, I do find comfort in the fact that you've had vaccine's since without any issues. In some respects it's an irrational fear because even if I was allergic to a particular medication doesn't mean I am allergic to all medications.

Hope I can make a sound decision. I also don't like being so paranoid ever time we go out and feel like I am going to become infected from grocery shopping or simply being around other people!
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 11:24:04 PM »
There is always a chance of catching something out there this time of year. I try to keep my immune system in shape by eating healthily--this time of year I eat a few oranges every week for the vitamin C, along with plenty of other fruits and vegetables. If you have to go out try not to put your hands to your face (you never know what germs you may have touched) and when you get back home wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Those are a few things that I think really help to stay healthy :)
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Offline Chantelle

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2014, 04:05:10 PM »
Yes, great tips. I do the same and try to eat lots of Vitamin C rich produce like red peppers, kiwi and broccoli. We also remind each other to wash our hands when we arrive home and I do my best not to touch my face while I'm out.
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Offline Lunatone

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2014, 07:09:15 PM »
CarrieAnn, thank you for your reply. Your rationalization is what I try to tell myself (chance of getting the flu are a million times higher than having a reaction to the shot).

I'm realizing that my fear of reaction comes from an incident that happened to me a couple years ago. I was taking a medication  for a UTI during pregnancy when I developed a massive allergic reaction to my meds. I broke out in large hives all over, my hands, feet and lips swelled, and I felt like I was having a stroke (I got really light headed, hit the ground in my kitchen and my hands were "buzzing") it was HORRIBLE. Since then I have this irrational fear of having another reaction to a medication because it was so scary. I've been on two antibiotics since without a problem but I still get scared to take anything hence where my fear of vaccines comes in!

Um... Im a microbiology student so I have to explain something. Antibiotics and vaccines are nothing alike, at all. Antibiotics do not work with viral infections. the flu is a viral infection. The way vaccines work is to introduce a small amount of the dead/deactivated virus into your body, in order to let your immune system learn its newest mutations.

If you are not in a high risk group, no compromised immune system, and arent a young child or elderly, there is no need for you to get a flu shot on a yearly basis. You'll probably be fine; I always am. But it won't hurt you. Really, the flu has a higher chance of harming you than a vaccine.
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Offline i960

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Re: Scared to get the flu shot
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2014, 07:17:05 PM »
My wife for the combined flu shot this year and for about a week and a half suffered debilitating migraines with visuals, nausea, etc. every couple of days. They've since gone away - but given that she has zero history of migraines and these showed up less than 2 weeks after the shot the connection is quite clear.

I myself never get the flu shot and never have.
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