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Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's Flu Season; Time to Get Pricked!

Posted by on Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Just as tomato season is drawing to close, flu season is almost upon us. But fortunately, a Washington State Department of Health reminds us, this year's vaccine is already widely available.

Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu shot. It’s especially important for young kids, people 65 and older, pregnant women, parents of newborns, and people with medical conditions like asthma and other lung diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and neurologic conditions.

Different types of flu vaccine are available. Besides the regular flu shot, there’s a high-dose vaccine for people 65 and older, and a nasal spray vaccine for healthy people ages 2-49. There’s also a vaccine that has a much smaller needle than regular flu shots. Ask your health care provider which is best for you and your family.

Um, can't imagine why I'd opt for the old-style vaccine with the much bigger needle, but I guess I'll ask my health care provider.

Also of note:

This season’s flu vaccine protects against three different strains of flu virus. It doesn’t protect against the newer H3N2 variant virus that is showing up in other parts of the country. Most cases of this new virus have been from direct contact with pigs at county fairs.

Which is why health officials always recommend that you thoroughly wash your hands after coming into contact with former state senator Luke Esser.


Comments (21) RSS

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Yet another good reason not to challenge a pig to a mud fight!
Posted by RonK, Seattle on September 27, 2012 at 12:20 PM · Report this
emma's bee 2
I had the large-bore needle version early this week at work, and it looked like the nurse pumped 5 cc into my arm. I could barely lift it to signal left turns on my ride home.

But now I'm protected against (non-porcine) flu strains, so, totally worth it.
Posted by emma's bee on September 27, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
rob! 3
Check with a local county health clinic if you don't feel like throwing $20-25 or more at your doctor or pharmacist. I got my shot yesterday in tumbleweed country for $7.
Posted by rob! on September 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM · Report this
shameful moron fat shames
Posted by Reader01 on September 27, 2012 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 5
I can certainly understand the push for children and those with compromised immune systems, but for the very healthy with robust immune systems it seems a bit unnecessary. Eating right and living smart goes a long way in personal health.

More than a decade of riding public transit through college & university crowds, and the only times (3) I got sick was when I had put myself in a position to be infected. (long walks in cold & wet weather, then meeting up with someone very sick)

Didn't anyone else develop resistance to many viral infections as a result of a lot of childhood illnesses?
Posted by Sir Vic on September 27, 2012 at 12:40 PM · Report this
Had my annual checkup today and they threw in a small-bore flu shot for free.
Posted by gloomy gus on September 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM · Report this
@5, For most diseases I'd say that you're right. But the flu - the actual flu not a slightly nasty cold that people got around calling the flu - will fell a healthy and robust adult. Severe symptoms will last anywhere from a week to six. And you'll feel after effects (fatigue, etc.) for up to 4-5 months. One should not fuck around with the flu. The vaccines are pushed hard every year for a reason. Furthermore, you cannot have a developed immune response to a disease that you've not been exposed to previously. The flu is not a monolithic disease. It's a class of diseases. Hence the need for a new vaccine every year. And the reason the "common cold" hasn't been cured. Because the "common cold" is actually several hundred (thousand?) different cold viruses.

Also, taking long walks in cold and wet weather will not leave you open to infection. It doesn't work that way.
Posted by moosefan on September 27, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
@5 Um, the better your immune system the more efficacious the vaccine. More importantly is that healthy immunized people don't kill off the immune compromised. But, live and let die is a philosophy...
Posted by BLUE on September 27, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 9
Got a flu shot three weeks ago at Bartell Drugs and beat the rush. Seemed like it was of the small-bore variety, although I've been stuck with enough needles in my life that I don't really care. I'm just glad I've got three weeks of immunity built up against the insidious creeping menace that is seasonal flu.
Posted by Gern Blanston on September 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM · Report this
Everyone knows that vaccines are just a transparent ploy by the global pharmaceutical cartels to convince the public to line up to have subcutaneous tracking chips implanted, allowing all their private data to be harvested and transmitted back to computers maintained by the Bilderberg Group.
Posted by Proteus on September 27, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
spaceapple 11
I think the flu shot is a silly waste of time and money. I'm surprised more people don't agree.
Posted by spaceapple on September 27, 2012 at 1:19 PM · Report this
Revenge! 12
7 is absolutely correct.
Posted by Revenge! on September 27, 2012 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Dammit, Goldy. I just got home from the doctor and my flu shot to find your posting. What good does it do me now to find out about the different kinds of flu vaccine, now that I can't ask my doc about them? You shoulda posted this yesterday!

By the way, I did take the opportunity to get a DPT/DTaP booster shot. I heard here on Slog about the whooping cough outbreak, and who needs that? Thanks, Slog!

@11 For me, it's just part of general maintenance, and doesn't cost me any more out of pocket when combined with a regular checkup. I've had the flu. It's not always horrible, but sometimes it is. I much prefer the shot. I think I'd get it even if I had to pay for it.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on September 27, 2012 at 1:45 PM · Report this
care bear 14
@11 How? It's not the expensive, it doesn't take that much time.

One of my Facebook friends recently polled the internet about whether she should get a flu shot. I was surprised by how many people said no. What are the arguments against it? I don't think the waste of time and money is a very good one. Are there other ones?

My immune system is crap ever since I got mono in high school so I definitely will be getting a flu shot. But even if you have a great immune system, wouldn't you want to help prevent the spread of the flu?
Posted by care bear on September 27, 2012 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 15
@7 Thanks for the info. I was doing a little of a devil's advocate there.
My experience has always been that a weakened physical state leaves me much more susceptible to illness. (The long walks in the cold result in a tired, sniffly Sir Vic.) I had major environmental allergies as a kid, and that left me ripe for every cold/cough/flu that came through town. Not really a large enough sample size from which to extrapolate, but gotta go with what you know.
Posted by Sir Vic on September 27, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 16

The problem is that people who are immune compromised can't get the vaccine. We're all supposed to get it to protect *them*, not necessarily to protect ourselves.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 27, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
sheiler 17
I never got flu shots. But last year with all the hub bub about the swine flu I succumbed and got the shot....and washed my hands all of the time. Was careful not to touch my face. Got H1N1 anyway (and thought I was gonna die). Conclusion: fuck the flu shots.
Posted by sheiler on September 27, 2012 at 6:07 PM · Report this
Also, thanks for the reminder Goldy. I stopped by the pharm. on my way home and got my shot.
Posted by moosefan on September 27, 2012 at 7:40 PM · Report this
Cephalodude 19
You should get a flu shot. But you should also eat healthy, exercise and practice good hygiene.

The anti-vaccine nuts are nuts. That will not change. But we should all still eat decently, wash our hands regularly and cover our damn mouths when we cough/sneeze in a public place.
Posted by Cephalodude on September 28, 2012 at 1:48 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 20
@11: You do know how many people the flu kills every year right?

Not to mention, while the young and healthy may only be inconvenienced by the flu, it can ravage the elderly, immune-compromised, and young children. You get immunized not just for yourself, but for the whole herd.

It benefits society as a whole, and if you are savvy or insured, should cost you less than a double sawbuck.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on September 28, 2012 at 5:39 AM · Report this
Even if you have a good immune system, it can only fight what it knows. The flu virus mutates every year, so there's no guarantee your immune system will recognize it. The flu shot primes your immune system to recognize the strain they expect will be common this year; that's why you need one every year, unlike some other vaccines that are a once-every-five-years or once-in-a-lifetime deal.

This is also why no one's developed a vaccine for the common cold -- cold viruses mutate constantly, too quickly to track with a vaccine.

Posted by Orv on September 28, 2012 at 10:21 AM · Report this

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