So it’s good to know that I’m not alone in my blogger flu. Well, actually it’s not good to know…I do feel bad for all of you who are also suffering, and I’m sorry you’re in poor company with me. Here’s hoping there is a cure for us soon.
Moving on to a different sort of flu: have you received your flu shot yet? Last week my hospital offered the seasonal flu shot for all employees. Some hospitals in our area have mandated the flu shot – as in, if you don’t get the shot or have a medical/religious reason as to why you’re not getting it, punishment will be enacted. I heard that one hospital in Cincinnati is mandating it with a threat of job loss for not complying. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus told their employees that if they don’t get the shot, they’ll lose any chance at bonuses or raises this year. I didn’t have quite that kind of pressure – we simply had to sign a form if we refused the shot.
Of course, I took the shot. I’m a nurse, in direct contact with patients who are very vulnerable. How could I not take the shot? It’s my job to keep them healthy.
And then on Thursday, I was told about an H1N1 shot clinic for healthcare employees while at work. My co-workers and I all went to the clinic after our shift and rolled up our sleeves. Again, it wasn’t mandated, but I work around pregnant women – one of the highest risk groups for swine flu. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually it does become mandated for labor nurses.
My general position on vaccinations is wobbly at best. Cordy has autism, and my memories of when she started to turn inward generally focus on that time around her big set of shots. There’s absolutely no proof, of course, and I would never state that the vaccines caused her autism. I know the good the vaccines have accomplished – you rarely see children suffering from polio or measles or dying from meningitis today.
However, simple physiology tells me that it’s a stress on the immune system to inject a child with 8 different viruses and expect the body to not freak out at trying to build 8 antibodies at the same time.
So my position is one of caution. Mira will get all of her necessary vaccinations, but they are delayed. She’s caught up to the standard 1 year old schedule at this point. Everything is spaced out to put less stress on her, and as a result, we’re not seeing the fevers and lethargy after a shot that we saw with Cordy. Cordy is also now on a delayed and spaced out schedule. I don’t have a problem with making more doctor visits for vaccinations.
But what about the flu shot? Cordy got a flu shot with her first MMR when she was 15 months old, and she was miserable with a fever, vomiting, and diarrhea from that visit. Since then, neither of them has had a flu shot. And the H1N1 shot (at this time) does contain thimerisol.
My own personal preference is that Cordy and Mira will not get the seasonal flu shot because the they aren’t the high-risk group for seasonal flu. I am, however, strongly considering the H1N1 vaccine for each of them. Assuming they don’t get the flu while waiting for our area to have enough of the vaccine, of course.
The number of children who have died from swine flu is already too high for me, and even those with milder cases have still been miserable for days. And despite trying to teach my girls to be civilized, I’ve seen the personal hygiene habits of children their age: it would make a microbiologist pale and nauseous. If anyone knows how to keep a two year old from putting her fingers in her mouth, I’m willing to pay cash for that secret.
What about you? Are you getting either flu shot for your children? Is the flu already impacting your city?