Monday, October 20, 2008

Flu Shot?

The local clinic finally put up their flu shot schedule, so now I have to decide whether I should bother. For the past several years, I've gotten flu shots, mostly because I work in a germ infested world. I'm not overly paranoid (I think) about the whole germ thing, but I do try to remember to wash my hands a bit more frequently during the sickness season (which is long up here).

(We get really hit with bugs right after Thanksgiving. I think the students all go home and get exposed to different stuff, just long enough to get exposed, and then go back to the dorms to get sick and share the germs in close quarters, and then they share with the whole campus. We get hit again after winter break, and then again after spring break, and then everyone gets time to get healthy sometime in June.)

Pros: Reduced chances of getting the flu. That's the big one. Reduced chances of passing the flu around, and that's also good. (I'm the biggest whuss in the world about hating to be sick.)

Cons: Time, hassle. (My insurance seems to cover the cost.)

But, I have to admit I have my doubts that it does any good, really. I'm under 50 (for a bit longer), and delightfully healthy (I'm delighted, anyway, and I remember to be delighted every time I go for a nice long bike ride.), so at fairly low risk for really bad stuff.

I'm not bothered much by shots, and tend not to react in uncomfortable ways, so that's not really an issue for me. But it's a hassle to make time in the day to get to the clinic place and all. Never underestimate my laziness in the face of even minimal hassle.

I've read that flu strains change every year, but after a number of years, shouldn't there be some repetition? I also wonder how long the immunity to a given strain lasts, should that strain come around again.

(I meant to talk to the doctor about it last summer, but in between all the questions about whether I wear a seat belt, smoke, or if there's yelling in my home, I didn't remember. And can I just say, I lie about the yelling in my home thing, because I do occasionally yell at certain politicians when they're on TV, but since I live alone and the politicians don't hear me over the TV anyway, it seems too long to explain.)

This is how pathetic my life is. It's either blog about the flu shot decision (DECISION 2008!) or about grading hell, and grading hell is too darned depressing. And so is the real decision 2008...


  1. Flu viruses are very mutable. Having had the flu (or a flu shot) doesn't protect you from a different strain anymore than the fact that I had a cold last winter means I won't get one this winter. I'd say get the shot.

  2. Anonymous2:44 PM

    I've only had the flu shot once when I was caring for an elderly, infection-prone grandparent. It was worth the 3 days of flu-like symptoms I had to endure directly after having the shot.

    I haven't had one since, and (touch wood) haven't had the flu. But I do take vitamin C (1000mg) when I grade papers and generally right before I teach class.

  3. A friend of mine in the medical profession threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't get a flu shot this year, so I'm scheduled for mine next week. I think her point had something to do with resisting the mutations and bearing in mind that people do really die from the flu. I don't relish the illness I'm sure to endure from it but since my last bout of the flu involved hallucinations and sweat-soaked clothing, it's probably a good idea.

  4. I've never gotten the flu shot, mainly b/c I'm really lazy, and then two years in a row I got bad flu that turned into pnumonia. So I'm saying.