The 2014 Flu Vaccine: 5+ MythBusters!

2 Oct

flu

Good Morning !

Tis the season of influenza and I wanted to share  my patient’s top reasons on why they don’t believe  in the flu shot. I would also like to cite some sources on why these concerns can be put to rest and if and when there is some truth to the matter.  Now, let’s do a little myth buster action today shall we =)

1) “Oh, I don’t do the flu shot because it always gives me the flu”.

-So, this is just completely false. The viruses contained in the flu shot have been ‘inactivated’ and are therefore not infectious, aka, can in no way cause you to become infected with the flu (Seasonal Flu Shot, 2014).

“Well, the last time I got the shot…. I felt really crappy the next day “

a) Let’s just think about that for a second shall we… now, if the flu shot can’t give you the flu, what might be some other point of contacts where you could pick up some  yucky viruses to make you have some flu like symptoms?!? Perhaps, you might have been sitting in a waiting room,  doctors office or the Walgreens pharmacy area filled with lots of other lovely sickly people and their boogery children coughing, sneezing and wiping their awesome infectious bodily fluids on the chair, door knobs, clipboards ect; how ironic eh?

b) or maybe, you might need to brush up on your hand hygiene skillios. I’m telling you, I work in an E.R where people will sometimes literally cough on me  because they don’t practice the proper method on how to cover their cough and I have yet to miss a day of work due to being sick since I started nursing 4 + years ago.. I think between my immune system being exposed to the gamut of pathogens and my obsessive hand-washing practice, somehow (knock on wood) I don’t get sick very often

c) “The flu shot can cause mild side effects that are sometimes mistaken for flu. For example, people sometimes experience a sore arm where the shot was given. The soreness is often caused by a person’s immune system making protective antibodies in response to being vaccinated. These antibodies are what allow the body to fight against flu. The needle stick may also cause some soreness at the injection site. Rarely, people who get the flu shot have fever, muscle pain, and feelings of discomfort or weakness. If experienced at all, these effects usually last 1-2 days after vaccination and are much less severe than actual flu illness” (Seasonal flu shot, 2014, p.1).

d) see # 4 below

e) if you think there is no way scenario A, B, C or D could have occurred, you may in fact be a hypochondriac or scared of needles  =)

Source:

Seasonal flu shot. (2014). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/flushot.htm

2) “I don’t believe in vaccinations ….”.

I’m just going to go ahead and throw this out there… if you do not believe in vaccinations or vaccinating your children and find the information below regarding vaccination irrelevant, than you should not follow this blog! Seriously, if we do not share the same core goals about healthcare (preventing disease before it occurs, such as with vaccinations) than you will not like anything else I have to say.

a) See what had happend was (lol, this is my favorite intro line to a great E.R story)… In 1998, the infamous  Andrew Wakefield’s (previously Dr. Wakefield–oh yea, his medical license got taken away) got a respectable medical journal, The Lancet, to publish his completely fraudulent “research” study linking  the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to Autism (The Autism Vaccine Hoax [AVH], 2011). During that same time in the U.S, opportunistic parents and lawyers jumped on the band wagon pointing fingers  with Mr wakefield at vaccines  containing a mercury compound called thimerosal because they potentially caused Autism . Why do we care?

Well… for starters the research study was a load of crap and ultimately one of the most devastating medical scares to date.

“By 2004, Britain’s immunization rates had dropped to a low of 80%; the rates have recovered only slightly. The Centers for Disease Control says that in the U.S. 40% of parents have delayed or declined at least one of their children’s shots— (one of the many reasons why I will always have a job). This has led to the needless re-emergence of once-conquered diseases” (AVH, 2011, p.1).

“Measles is now endemic in England and Wales. California recently suffered a whooping cough outbreak that sickened 7,800 people and killed 10 babies =(.  As Paul Offit, the chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and one of the few who stood up against the autism scare, writes in his new book “Deadly Choices,” the victims of this “war on science” are children” ( AVH, 2011, p.1). Too bad nobody ever took that hostess dessert being linked to cancer seriously, we may have cured our current obesity epidemic.

The Autism Vaccine Hoax. (2011). The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704739504576067801877449500

3) “I don’t need the flu shot, I’m as healthy as a horse”

“It’s true that the flu vaccination is routinely recommended for people who have a chronic illness. But anyone — even healthy folks — can benefit from being vaccinated “(Flu resource center, 2014, p.1). Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season (kids less than 2 yrs of age can’t get the shot, but the nasal spray is available). This recommendation has been in place since February 24, 2010 when CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the United States to expand protection against the flu to more people (Seasonal flu shot, 2014, p.1). In addition, the flu shot is recommended for healthy people who might spread the virus to others who are particularly susceptible. For this reason, health care workers are routinely advised to get the flu vaccination to protect their patients ” (Flu resource center, 2014, p.1)

source:

“Flu resource center. (2014). Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/flu-resource-center/10-flu-myths.htm

Seasonal flu shot. (2014). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/flushot.htm

4) “The flu shot isn’t even 100% guarantee, I’ll take my chances”

a) TRUE… the  quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.. Meaning although it will protect you against the top 4 strands, if you happen to get a rando one, your S.O.L.

” The vaccine’s effectiveness also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. At least two factors play an important role in determining the likelihood that flu vaccine will protect a person from flu illness: 1) characteristics of the person being vaccinated (such as their age and health), and 2) the similarity or “match” between the flu viruses the flu vaccine is designed to protect against and the flu viruses spreading in the community. During years when the flu vaccine is not well matched to circulating viruses, it’s possible that no benefit from flu vaccination may be observed. During years when there is a good match between the flu vaccine and circulating viruses, it’s possible to measure substantial benefits from vaccination in terms of preventing flu illness” (How effective is the flu vaccine, 2014, p. 1).

5) “I don’t think I need the flu shot every year”

“The influenza virus changes (mutates) each year. So getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak” (Flu resource center, 2014, p.1).

source:

“Flu resource center. (2014). Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/flu-resource-center/10-flu-myths.htm

Yay for vaccines & preventing disesae!! Got more questions, feel free to comment or check out this website!

In health,

Kelley Bouchard

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