Flu and child with muscular dystrophy - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-10-2013, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I have to admit that I'm struggling on this one.


My oldest child is fully vaccinated (before I knew better), except that he has not had an MMR booster or varicella booster (he's on steroids). He has also not had a flu shot.


So what I'm struggling with is all of the flu hype and knowing that he is more vulnerable than the regular child.


He's immune suppressed (Because of the steroids), and in addition, sickness really knocks him out, strength-wise. Something about a fired up immune system makes DMD boys really tired.


So even though this is the anti-vaccination board, if you all had a medically fragile child, would you do a flu shot?

Thanks for any advice.

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#2 of 6 Old 01-11-2013, 03:39 AM
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I would not vaccinate a medically fragile child, mainly because there's no way to know if the child will adversely react to the vaccine.   And, for two weeks after vaccinating, a person is much more vulnerable to illness due to the immune system being overtaxed.  I think vaxing would further stress out an already stressed out immune system, resulting in untold consequences....look into natural alternatives to keep illness away, as well as the standard precautions-handwashing, lots of rest, vit c & d,  stay out of crowds, healthy nourishing foods.....

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#3 of 6 Old 01-11-2013, 06:54 AM
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I would not do the MMR.  There is a 95% chance the vaccine took the first time around, and measles, mumps and rubella are not that common.  Even if you believe we should vaccinate to keep herd immunity up, that burden should not fall on a child with medical issues.


The flu and chicken pox are different - they are diseases that are kicking around.


I think you need to look at prevalence of the disease, the risks of the disease in your child given his medical conditions, versus the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.




If the chicken pox is dangerous in kids with your sons condition, I would research, research, research.  How old is your son? If you decide in favour of the shot, I would give it alone and when he is in good health.  I don't know if it is a shot that requires boosters, but I would look up the necessity of them before doing any boosters. I might even test for titres before vaccination  - some people have had CP and don't know it.  You also need to know that some people who are vaxxed for CP come down with CP.  It is supposedly "milder" but that still might be an issue.  I don't know the efficacy of the CP vaccines offhand.


The flu is messier, in my mind.  I am not impressed by the efficacy of the flu shot.  There are oodles of links on flu shots on the vaccine debate and discussion page - alternately google things like "cochrane review influenza" and "flu shot not effective" and see what you come up with.  It is worth noting that only about 4% of the population comes down with the flu (or flu strain that is in the vaccine) on average in any given year.


 The flu shot has to be given yearly, at least the CP is only given once or twice and then it is done.  Do not give him the MMRV (combines MMR and Varicella) even if you want to do a second dose of MMR.  MMRV is more dangerous than doing V and MMR separately.  


Do you like his main doctor?  While I do not doubt the doc is pushing vaccines on you, you might be able to figure out which vaccines your doctor thinks are the most important for your son and why.  Ask him for his top three.  


good luck - and good health to your family!

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.


Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?).  We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...

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#4 of 6 Old 01-11-2013, 12:49 PM
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It would depend on the specific medical condition.


For the MMR, you could do a titer, and see if he has immunity already, which would then make the booster a non-issue.  


For the flu shot--well, we don't know how effective it is for kids with MD. We do know from recent independent studies (the Cochrane Review, and CIDRAP) that it is not particularly effective for healthy kids, and that there is no evidence showing efficacy in pediatric and geriatric populations.


We know that for some people, the flu shot can be deadly--but do we know which subgroups that it?  Looking at the kinds of severe reactions compensated by the US Dept of Health & Human Services, it looks like most of those people either had seizure problems or autoimmune problems (and some seizure disorders ARE autoimmune disorders).  Did the people have autoimmune problems before the shot that were exacerbated, or did the shot cause autoimmune problems where none existed previously?  Does it make a difference?


Having been through a few severe vaccine reactions, my take on it is to avoid vaccines.  But someone who has suffered complications from disease may have a different take--until they suffer complications from a vaccine as well.


Very, very difficult question.  I'm sorry that there are no easy answers.

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#5 of 6 Old 01-11-2013, 01:12 PM
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If it helps/makes you feel better, my father was born with epilepsy and cerebral palsy.  He was vaxxed as a child but far less than kids are today (he was born in 1954), and never had a flu vax.  He was on phenobarbital and dilantin for 40yrs before being weaned off both, so as a child he was on these heavy drugs and a number of others at one time or another and not once did my grandparents worry about his health any more so than his 4 siblings with no disorders.  He's doing just fine, still doesn't get the flu vax, and sees a naturopath to control the residual/sporadic tics.

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#6 of 6 Old 01-13-2013, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi - thanks for all of the responses - I really appreciate it.

I wasn't super clear in my message, because I'm not considering either the MMR or Chickenpox booster - we pulled titers before we put him on steroids, and they already took, so we're good on that.


It's the flu that has me wondering. I will admit that I am somewhat anxiety prone, so I'm a sucker for the media blitz.


But I have a friend with two boys with MD who got the shot and just came down with terrible cases of the flu, so I think we'll opt out and hunker down this year.


Thanks again.

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