Special thanks to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for sponsoring today’s post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.
If you still haven’t gotten your flu shot and are questioning whether or not an immunization is worthwhile; here are some helpful facts about the flu, the flu shot and why medical experts are encouraging as many people as possible to get vaccinated. I finally went and got my flu shot and I’m not gonna lie, I should have gotten it MONTHS ago. With the pandemic raging, it’s more important than ever to keep everyone in our family healthy and a flu shot is an easy way to help.
The Flu Shot Protects You, Especially During the COVID-19 Pandemic. We in the Gavin household are doing everything we can to avoid getting sick with ANYTHING right now, not just COVID-19. So we will take all the help that our immune systems can get. We do not want to end up in the hospital for any reason. They are already overstressed with COVID-19 patients. Maria and the kids were responsible and got theirs at the beginning of flu season. I had an appointment scheduled to get my flu shot in the fall, but work interfered and I never rescheduled. When you never leave the house, you just don’t think about those things that often. But when the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services asked us to help spread the word about the importance of getting a flu shot, I realized that I still needed to get mine. I stopped at a local pharmacy on the way home from a recent trip to the office. It was great. No appointment needed, there was hardly anyone there and I was in and out in maybe 10 minutes, tops. I’m so glad that I did because through my research, I have learned so much.
The Flu Is Serious. Despite me getting a bit forgetful about it this year, I know getting the flu shot is very important. I was hospitalized with the flu when I was only a few months old. My poor little body just got so dehydrated that I needed intravenous fluids; now that I have my own kids, I have a much better idea of the emotions my parents must have experienced during that scary time. If I hadn’t gotten proper medical treatment, there is a decent chance I wouldn’t even be here now. At a larger scale, over 500,000 people were hospitalized with the flu last year. (Source) In the 2019-2020 flu season, there were about 950 hospitalizations in Michigan for the flu. (Source) In 2018, 346 people died of the flu in Michigan. (Source) During the 2019-2020 flu season, six children died of the flu in Michigan and 188 kids died in the US from flu that same season. (Source) It blows my mind to think that there was even a chance I could have been one of those statistics. So, the flu is definitely not something you should ignore.
When you have little kids, Daddy getting a shot is BIG news. I told Dessa about it when I got home and asked if she wanted to see my boo-boo. She, of course, wanted to put a fancy bandaid on it (no plain bandaids in this house) and gave it a kiss to make it feel better. Then Dr. Dessa proceeded to give me a few more shots from her toy doctor kit, just for good measure. Harvey helped, too.
Dessa and Harvey got their flu shots at Harvey’s one-year well visit back in October. Poor Harvey got four shots at that visit and was not a happy camper later that evening. Dessa, though, was remarkably brave. She received her flu shot first and the nurse let her choose which arm or leg would get poked. Our big, brave girl did not shed a single tear and enjoyed every last lick of the sucker she earned as a reward.
Maria (and I, when Maria told me about it later) could not believe how well Dessa handled herself during such a nervous moment in the life of a three-year-old. Maria got a flu shot at her annual OB/GYN appointment last fall when they offered it to her, which just left me as the last family member to get vaccinated. Now, I’m finally all caught up and our entire family is immunized for this flu season.
Vaccines are safe. There’s a lot of strong opinions out there about vaccinations, but they are safe, effective and help protect everyone. Questions about vaccines are normal and you should definitely look into them, but check with reputable sources, like your medical doctor, the CDC or resources like ivaccinate.org.
The Flu Vaccine Works. Despite misconceptions, the flu vaccine works. In the 2019-2020 flu season, the vaccine prevented about 7.5 million flu illnesses, 105,000 hospitalizations, and 6,300 deaths. (Source) And no, the flu vaccine does not cause the flu. You may get some mild symptoms after the vaccine. Some people have soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling around the injection site. Some (including myself) may even get a low-grade fever, headache or muscle aches. However, those symptoms are much more mild than the actual flu. (Source) It is possible to catch the flu despite having the vaccine, but the vaccine reduces the severity of the flu, so you won’t be nearly as sick. (Source, Source) The flu vaccine cuts the risk of a healthy child dying of the flu by 2/3 and the risk for kids with underlying health conditions by 1/2 (Source) and it helps protect pregnant women and their babies, too. (Source, Source, Source)
Still have questions about the flu? Click here for additional resources and information about influenza and the flu vaccine in Michigan.
We got our flu shots to help keep everyone in our family healthy and we strongly encourage you to do the same, even if you put it off like I did. It’s not too late!