flu shot


Every Friday this quarter, I’ve had a discussion session (for points) with my health students on a topic, controversial at times. We have a big international student population, and one of my goals for a non-majors class is to get them to talk in an educated manner about health, to be able to hold a conversation with someone.

Last week, the topic was vaccination, and the controversy behind that. The overall consensus was that for the big, debilitating illnesses (polio, measles, etc), that vaccination is important. But I tossed it back at them: what if we came up with a vaccine for everything, even your random cold? (unlikely, given the nature of those viruses, but still.) Yay, we’d never get sick again! But how would our immune system react? So, the consensus was that for more minor illnesses, it’s probably best to just let it run its course for someone who is generally healthy.

Now–I don’t talk about my MS with my students. And I usually don’t interject my opinions too much into these discussions. But I gave my big fat opinion on me and the flu shot. And–I told them I haven’t gotten one in over a decade. My “vaccination” for minor illnesses is eating right and exercising, and getting enough sleep as I can. And I haven’t had the flu in a really long time, either. Sometimes, the flu shot can be a license to treat your body like crap, because you have a “safety net”, in a sense… or so you think.

(Many of my students agreed with me on this! I hope they’re walking the walk on treating themselves well, and not just sayin’ things!)

Now.. lots of my health care team tell me that because I have MS, I need a flu shot more. I take an immunomodulating drug, therefore I’m a higher-risk, so I need more protection. I feel exactly the opposite, that my immune system is attacking me in unpredictable ways–let’s not toss another variable in there, unless I really need it. And with my lifestyle choices, I don’t

How do you all feel about this? (We don’t have kids. If I did, I would give them all of the major vaccines. But not the chicken pox vaccine… I’d let them get the disease itself, and let it run its course. Sometimes nature is just best as it is, as long as there are no long-term effects.)


2 Responses to “flu shot”

  1. We feel the same way about diet and exercise and not vaccinating against the “lesser” viruses. We feel that everyone should be free to decide whether or not they get vaccinated and what they get vaccinated against – whatever the reason. Unfortunately, my former employer did not.

  1. 1 ms and vaccinations | In Search of My New Normal

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