Do your children get the flu vaccine? Why or why not? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 08:20 AM
 
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I never get the flu vaccine.  My husband always does.  usually, neither of us gets the flu.  I have been on the fence about getting it for my daughter, but we probably will.  There's some info here.  I did not realize, for example, that hte first year you get your child immunized for flu they need two shots (one to prime and one to provide immunity)

 

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/children.htm

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#3 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 08:22 AM
 
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I'm curious what some more informed mamas say as well.

 

I'm like you.  Researched *a little*.  We are currently not vaxxing for the girls' boosters, but I chose to forgo the flu vaccine even when we were on schedule*.  I think it had a lot to do with what you said and enough was enough.  I also felt that it was not such a sure-fire preventative.  Individuals are not able to say, after a flu-free season, that they were free of the flu because of the vaccine.  I haven't had the flu for 10 years or more and haven't vaxxed in any year but one.  No, you have to look at the collected data (after the fact, and each year is different) and still, flu statistics are tricky, not the least of which it is not usually diagnosed by a lab when reported. 

 

That's pretty much the extent of what I've given thought to, and I hope others have a bit more research under their belts.

 

*Which, said an irritated nurse at the hospital, makes us not on schedule.  Hmph!


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#4 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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From what I've read on a good year the flu vaccine is 80% effective.  So it really comes down to what you think the risks of the vaccine are.

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#5 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 08:32 AM
 
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#6 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 08:36 AM
 
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I checked the Cochran reviews last winter and the flu vaccine isn't any better than placebo for kids under 2. Since our daughter is a baby, we skipped it this year and will next year too. After that I'll look into it again as she grows. I'm a health care provider and so I always get it to protect my patients, but I don't know if it's considered necessary for household contacts of healthcare providers--that will factor in to our decision if so. My husband always gets the vaccine too just because he doesn't want to get the flu.

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#7 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 08:40 AM
 
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Here's a link to some info about that for anyone who's interested.

 

http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD004879/vaccines-for-preventing-influenza-in-healthy-children

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#8 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 08:41 AM
 
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I guess ultimately I'll sit down with my family practice doctor and mention the cochrane thing and see what they think.  It is a really good practice attached to a major education and research hospital so they are usually pretty up on the latest stuff.

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#9 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 09:38 AM
 
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We skip the flu vaccine, because it is formulated based on the best guess as to which flu virus will go around each year. Because its different every year (this year being the exception, because it was the same as last year I believe), and herd immunity is based on the guess being right, we just take our chances.

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#10 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 10:23 AM
 
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I do not typically vaccinate for the flu.

 

I am non-vax, so I guess this is no surprise. wink1.gif

 

"The best guess" does not do it for me, moreover I do not think the flu is dangerous for most people.

 

Sadly, my youngest is prone to lung infections.

 

We did get the flu this year (and it was a doozy!), and my youngest  developed a secondary infection of pneumonia, for which we spent 5 days at out local children's hospital.  This is not her first lung infection -  it is the first time she needed to be hospitalized for it.

 

I made post a month ago or so trying to figure out if DD was a good candidate for the flu vaccine, or if perhaps she should get a pneumonia vaccine, and am still in research mode.  The pneumonia vaccines do not prevent all types of pneumonia, and I do not know if they prevent the kind that comes on after the flu.  Here is a link to the post:

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1351926/flu-shot

 

Suffice to say that if the pneumonia vaccine can prevent or help prevent DD from getting a lung infection after something like the flu, that is the route we will go.  The flu is not dangerous for many people, but some people are prone to secondary infections that can be dangerous, and DD might be one of them.

 

I would prefer one vaccine that lasts about 10 years and covers pneumonia which is the real concern, than yearly pokes of a "best guess".  

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#11 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 11:43 AM
 
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My dd did when the schools gave it for free the year H1N1 was really bad, it was the mist not the spray though.  She hated it and is also oppossed to getting the flu shot so I don't have her get it.  I didn't even know there were flu shots until I had my dd so it doesn't seem important to me.  I have also heard that the shots are based on the flu strain of the year before and only about 50% effective.  I am not sure how accurate that is but we aren't at risk so I am not willing to subject my child to a yearly shot or nauseating and painful spray just in case this is the year she actually does get the flu. 

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#12 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 12:00 PM
 
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Not usually no. Here's (UK) if I recall it's only strongly recommended for people who are at high risk of flu complications. I did get it when I was pregnant the year of H1N1 (I got both seasonal and H1N1 at the same time) because I was concerned over what I'd read about the risks of pregnant women getting flu. That same year I had my daughter get the shot too - I think just H1N1. She was 3. It's the only shot she ever got with any reaction - she had a high fever and was miserable for about 24 hours. But I didn't/don't regret the choice to have her have it - at the time I was concerned about how widespread H1N1 would be and I thought having her get the vaccine was the best way I could help to protect her. 


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#13 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 12:09 PM
 
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Neither my husband nor myself have ever received a flu shot.  I used to work in a position that had me on the road going house to house across the state and neighboring states and even during the worst of flu seasons I never got sick.  My husband works for a Class A fire department where thy also do EMS runs, and while he could be considered a health professional and the department does offer and recommend flu shots, he does decline them.  Our DD is 7mos and she will not be vaxed for the flu.  I feel that she's healthy enough to fight it off is she does come down with it and I just don't like taking a gamble with something so unpredictable as the odds being as low as 50%.  We had a cold run through our house when she was 3 mos...DH first, then her, then me....she and I faired the best with a 7day duration, DH was more like 2 weeks.  Second cold to pass through she was about 5mos, again brought in by daddy, I got hit 2nd and it lasted a week....DD had nothing!  So for anyone who is healthy overall, no underlying issues, skipping the flu vax shouldn't be an issue.  My understanding is that it's not meant to eliminate the flu entirely anyways, but lessen severity.  I can do that with homeopathics and mega dose vit c :-)

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#14 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 12:25 PM
 
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The "best guess" is definitely not that reassuring.  For some reason, though, the flu originates in Asia (why is that?) and their guesses are based on the strains that are arising there, and which ones are likely to be a problem in North America when our flu season starts.  From what I have read over the years, these scientists (epidemiologists?) seem pretty confident in regards to their decisions.

 

Still, like others have said, being a yearly shot with a relatively small chance of preventing illness (compared with other vaccines) I avoid it.

 

As per the pneumonia shot:  I am not sure what it prevents and what it doesn't.  My then-fully-vaxxed daughter developed pneumonia following a bad cold and just barely squeaked by having to go to the hospital.  We treated her at home with a nebulizer and antibiotics.


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#15 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 12:42 PM
 
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We have gotten it the past couple of years as a protective measure for our youngest and we should probably continue as a protective measure for my husband who has to take immunosuppressive drugs for a condition that he has. It would be more serious for him to get the flu than your average healthy individual.
 

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#16 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 03:16 PM
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Because of her asthma, my youngest dd is at high risk for flu complications.  She gets the shot.  The rest of us get the mist to help give her a little herd immunity.   

 

I know it's a best guess as to the strain that will cause this year's outbreak.  My dd's first (and so far, only) hospitalization cost $6K out-of-pocket, after insurance.  That doesn't include the cost of 4x daily nebulized meds she was on for the rest of that year's flu season and for basically all of the next year's ($150 for a month's supply for each of two different meds she was on).  Or the antibiotics for the other times she got pneumonia.  Please note, she really is a really healthy kid, until she gets sick.  Once she's sick, she's really really sick.  And when she's at her sickest, she's very expensive.  I can't afford for her to be very expensive every winter.  I do what I can to keep the costs down.  The flu shot doesn't offer any guarantees, but we have stayed healthy through a few flu outbreaks, and my dd hasn't needed to be hospitalized again.  Flu and basically all of the other VPDs can have pneumonia as a complication or a sequel, so we are pretty vigilant about staying on schedule.

 

It would be awesome for us if more people got the flu shot - more herd immunity = lower chances of exposure for my vulnerable kid.  But I can understand why many people don't bother. 

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#17 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 03:18 PM
 
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It's not really a "guess". Epidemiology isn't 100%, but it's pretty sophisticated these days. 

 

We get it. Real flu is miserable. 


As for pneumonia, there are multiple viruses and bacteria that can cause it. Pneumonia describes the condition, not the underlying infection. Pneumococcal vaccines (Prevnar/Pneumovax) protect against 7/13/23 strains of one bacterium that causes pneumonia. 

 

prosciencemum, you're right that the NHS has not yet rolled out universal flu vaccination--though IIRC they do now give pregnant ladies the jab. 


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#18 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 04:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

I checked the Cochran reviews last winter and the flu vaccine isn't any better than placebo for kids under 2. Since our daughter is a baby, we skipped it this year and will next year too. After that I'll look into it again as she grows. I'm a health care provider and so I always get it to protect my patients, but I don't know if it's considered necessary for household contacts of healthcare providers--that will factor in to our decision if so. My husband always gets the vaccine too just because he doesn't want to get the flu.

This is pretty much us too. I'll review next year as our LO will be 3 next flu season but I doubt we'll get it for her. I consider her low risk for complications if she did get the flu and we don't live in a cold climate so there's not as much close, indoor contact during winter as in some areas.

DH and I work in ED and get the flu vax every year with a couple of exceptione. I don't get it when Im pregnant (I haven't worked during flu season when I've been pregnant anyway) and DH didn't get the H1N1 when they could only offer him a dose from a multi-dose vial. I wasn't working that year but I think I had H1N1 the year before anyway so I am probably immune.

If either of our children turned out to have something which made them higher risk we would probably get the vaccination but for typically healthy kids I'm not a fan.

Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

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#19 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 04:42 PM
 
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We used to, but I had a bad reaction to the vaccine and stopped. Since I am worried about my kids reacting the same way I did, I don't do it for them either.

Cristina, Mama to Michael 03-16-06, Nathan 01-16-11, and an angel 01-20-09,
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#20 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 08:04 PM
 
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We used to, but I had a bad reaction to the vaccine and stopped. Since I am worried about my kids reacting the same way I did, I don't do it for them either.

FWIW, my mom had a moderately annoying reaction the one time she had the vaccine (she came over faint after getting it), but I've had the vaccine several times with zero incident. Anecdotal, I know, but it makes me think if your only concern is how your kids might react the same way as you, you might also factor in if/how they've reacted to other shots, other similarities and differences they've exhibited from you in how they react to things, etc. In our case, my mom tends to be pretty sensitive and prone to weird reactions to things, and I am generally pretty healthy. Of course, you may have already done this consideration and didn't go into detail in your post, in which case feel free to ignore my comment. :)

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#21 of 35 Old 06-08-2012, 11:51 PM
 
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prosciencemum, you're right that the NHS has not yet rolled out universal flu vaccination--though IIRC they do now give pregnant ladies the jab. 

 

Yeah, and I think if you wait a bit you can get it if you want at the pharmacy. They just make sure all the asthmatics and elderly who want to get it have had chance first. Boots told me that for £10 I could get it, but they don't do under 16s (I think; might have been 18s), but that they could go to the Doctor if we wanted. I didn't pursue that this year, although I am worried my son (2) is developing asthma, so may be getting it for him in the future. 


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#22 of 35 Old 06-09-2012, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#23 of 35 Old 06-09-2012, 10:03 AM
 
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The first year in a group setting is really bad for illness but it should even out after that. The flu is only one of the many illnesses that go around but when your child gets a disease a month it is nice to prevent as much as possible.
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#24 of 35 Old 06-09-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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Everyone in my family does get the flu shot! It is a guess to the strains, but they usually put 2-3 strains in there and even then, it can give you a little help with fighting the flu even if the strain has mutated by the time it gets to you.

 

I live in Canada, so the shot is "free" for us. It might be a different consideration if I had to pay for it, so that's something to think about.

 

The flu shot has been shown to be safe. Often it *does* contain thimerosal if you're concerned about that (though thimerosal-free versions also exist). That wasn't a concern for us, since we also occasionally eat some tuna and other fish known to contain trace heavy metals, and have decided not to sweat it.

 

I made sure to get it when I was pregnant because of the danger to the fetus if I got the flu. Anyway, I figured that even if they got the strain wrong, I'd be in the same spot I was before anyway, so I might as well get it!

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#25 of 35 Old 06-09-2012, 01:57 PM
 
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 Anyway, I figured that even if they got the strain wrong, I'd be in the same spot I was before anyway, so I might as well get it!

 

This is not quite true.  You would probably be in the same spot.

 

According to the CDC, the influenza shot, may , in rare cases give people Guillain Barre syndrome.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/guillainbarre.htm

 

You may decide the pros outweigh the risks with the flu shot, but I don't think anyone should assume there are no risks to getting a shot.

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#26 of 35 Old 06-09-2012, 02:04 PM
 
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If I goto the store to see if ice cream is on sale I figure I either come home with ice cream, or I'm no worse off than I was before. I might get into an accident on the way there, but I don't really factor that in.
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#27 of 35 Old 06-09-2012, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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     Quote:

Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post

Often it *does* contain thimerosal if you're concerned about that (though thimerosal-free versions also exist). That wasn't a concern for us, since we also occasionally eat some tuna and other fish known to contain trace heavy metals, and have decided not to sweat it

 

I actually looked into that a few days ago, and there were lots of thimerosal free versions available last season. It seems more have become available over the past few years.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaxsupply.htm

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#28 of 35 Old 06-09-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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If I goto the store to see if ice cream is on sale I figure I either come home with ice cream, or I'm no worse off than I was before. I might get into an accident on the way there, but I don't really factor that in.

 

I like the analogy there.

 

I didn't get a flu vax for years because my mom once had an annoying though short-term reaction to one, but since I started getting it, I've never had a problem.

 

I don't think most people on MDC assume there is no risk at all to a vaccine, so the idea that there is a small risk is not earth-shattering news to us.

 

Quote:
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     Quote:

 

I actually looked into that a few days ago, and there were lots of thimerosal free versions available last season. It seems more have become available over the past few years.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaxsupply.htm

 

As a retail pharmacist, I give flu shots during flu season. My employer (PM me if you really want to know) stocks the thimerosal-free version in at least some stores. We typically made sure pregnant women got that version, but a non-pregnant person could request it if they wanted.

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#29 of 35 Old 06-09-2012, 07:59 PM
 
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nm - arguementative
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#30 of 35 Old 06-09-2012, 09:11 PM
 
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This is not quite true.  You would probably be in the same spot.

 

According to the CDC, the influenza shot, may , in rare cases give people Guillain Barre syndrome.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/guillainbarre.htm

 

You may decide the pros outweigh the risks with the flu shot, but I don't think anyone should assume there are no risks to getting a shot.

Sure, but you can also get Guillain Barre syndrome from having the flu itself, which the vaccine helps prevent. So you can use that while you weight the pros and cons.

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