Saturday, August 30, 2008

Flu Shot Time

Every year since I turned 50, I got a flu shot. Last year I got the flu anyway, since the shot-makers had misjudged just what strains would turn up. Can't blame them for that -- microbial mutations are pretty unpredictable. Still, I always reasoned with myself, you can't be too careful.

It turns out you can. A news item on CNN this morning cited a new study on flu shots among "older people" (sixty-second news items aren't given to mathematical precision). The study says that the correlation between getting the shot and not getting the flu is not due to the vaccine. Instead, it's due to the fact that some older people take better care of themselves overall. Those are the ones who get the shot, but they'd have the same lower incidence of flu if they didn't get it. They wash their hands more. Or maybe they just stay home with all the windows closed all winter. Or something.

So now I'm left with a dilemma -- to flu-shot or not flu-shot? That is the question. Whether 'tis better to suffer the pounding head and scratchy throat of outrageous fortune...

Never mind. I'm babbling. Blogging will resume after the Labor Day weekend, since I'm away. Have a good holiday.

10 comments:

Erin Underwood said...

Last year, my boss got the flu shot and whoa! did she get the flu. She was out for over a week. Of course, I had to tease her that there are better ways of getting the flu than taking a shot. ;-)

Joe Iriarte said...

As you describe it, the new piece doesn't seem to say there's any harm in getting it, even if it doesn't help much. Medical research seems to change its mind so much about what's healthful and what's not, I'd be inclined to just go with my instincts.

I'm not "older" yet, but I get the flu shot every year because I'm a teacher and thus get exposed to all sorts of exotic bugs on a constant basis.

Joe Iriarte said...

*newS piece

Annie said...

I stopped getting the shots about four years ago despite having asthma. I never got the flu despite working with middle and high school kids. I simply stepped up the hand washing.

The Pondering Tree's Alpha Site said...

I know the docs say I'm wrong, but everytime I received the compulsory flu shot in the Army, I got sicker than a dog. Once I got out of the Army and had the freedom to say, "Hell, No," I noticed that I caught the flu maybe once every five winters.

It seems virtually useless given the endless combinations of strains which may strike at any given time. I figure the best remedy is excerise, frequent hand washing and being sure to sterilize keyboards, mouses and doorknobs on a regular basis.

Oh, and a weekly soak in a hot tub during the winter time after a shot of whiskey doesn't hurt either.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy

Mark said...

I couldn't help but be reminded of the culture in Hithchikers' Guide that vanished because they'd exiled all of their telephone sanitizers. :-))

gdtownshende said...

I haven't had the flu in donkeys' years, and I've never had a flu shot. Then again, being a military brat, as well as ex-Air Force, I'm also a former government pin-cushion that has managed to live in and/or visit 18 different countries and 39 of the 50 States. All that travel (which continues, by the way, despite now being a civilian) has certainly exposed me to a lot and has undoubtedly given me a decent immune system.

When I was married, my ex hated that she and our kids would get sick with whatever was going around at the time, and I would just cruise along singing happily.

I do manage to get colds once or twice a year, though.

cd said...

No way are you over 40.

bluesman miike Lindner said...

I'm not a Christian Scientist, but I've observed people who get sick often =want=, at some level of the good old mind, to get sick. I.e., dependent. They're generally
depressed, unhappy, passive people. "Poor little me...please take care of me..."(And if you object, "Mike, maybe they're that way =because= they're so often ill," I could not prove you wrong. Hmmmm...Experiments come to mind, but please, Almighty God, never in America!)

bluesman miike Lindner said...

For another blog I can't seem to evoke...
Might be wrong, but I suspect the Universe is =teeming= with life. (Why would God create unnecessary real estate? Cathars, don't answer!)
But wouldn't it be stone wonderful to watch the Tentacles of Beta Pi contriving their own double-slit experiment? Figuring things out? And talking with them?