Wandering into a Flu Shot

Not quite literally, I mean. I didn’t literally walk straight into a hypodermic needle of dead flu virus and just happen to get injected!

A quick flu shot

I had my regular 3-month appointment with my primary care doctor on October 1st, and she asked if I’d had my flu shot yet. While I had arranged for my sports medicine doc who is also the dad of a former Special Olympics athlete I coach to bring me one when his son starts volunteering with my program next week, I haven’t seen him yet.

So when my primary care doctor asked if I wanted it today and I said sure—no reason not to! I shrugged out of my hoodie as she went to the fridge for my shot. No more than 30 seconds later, it was done and we moved forward with the regular prescription refills and travel discussions!

Getting the flu shot every year

I’ve gotten a flu shot every year since at least the fall 2009 flu season, which was also the H1N1 year—I can’t remember if I got one in Fall 2008, my first flu season with asthma. It is important for those of us with asthma to keep up to date on our flu shots each year when the new flu season rolls around and very smart people take educated guesses at which flu strains will be most prevalent in a given year—aiming to inject us with the right cells that will help our immune systems build up resistance to those viruses.

It takes mere minutes, and for the most part, I haven’t had to go too far out of my way to get the flu shot—especially when it came to me! Doctors, clinics, and about every pharmacy can now do flu shots, so it’s quick and easy (and once I even got free Girl Guide cookies!). I’m happy to put up with a little arm soreness for a couple days to prevent a lot of hassle down the road, especially with these lungs!

"Herd immunity": the reason for getting a flu shot is for the high-risk population

Getting a flu shot also encouraged people in my life to get theirs as well—the more people that get immunized, the better chance those of us who are at high-risk from flu-related complications and have any degree of immunocompromise have at staying well. My mom began consistently getting the flu shot after my asthma diagnosis, so there is certainly a ripple effect. I messaged the mom of my respite participant about getting my flu shot done with and her reply was “Oooh, I should do that. We got so sick last year, it was the only year [we] didn’t [get it].” Two minutes later she messaged me “Speaking of...” and told me her husband was home sick and she didn’t yet know why.

The flu shot prevents only the flu (so it likely would not have prevented my client’s illness!)—and it’s not perfectly matched to the yer’s flu viruses each year. But between getting the shot, washing my hands regularly, and staying away from sick people as much as I can, it’s the best recipe for staying well—and keeping my asthma under some semblance of control—through the Winter!

Do you get a flu shot every year?

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