recently, there has been a lot of discussion on a moms list i’m on about FluMist — whether it’s better to get a flu shot or let your older-than-two year old sniff up that misty stuff. as a mom who has a daughter who wildly hates shots, this is something near and dear to my heart. (in fact, i’m embarrassed to state that BC has not had a flu shot yet this year, thanks to her performance when she hid under a desk. it took two nurses, a doctor, and me to get her out. but i’m going to get her there.)

my kids cannot have Flu Mist, and it’s all my fault. see, Flu Mist is a live vaccine. you shed that yummy influenza germy goodness once you get it, and if you’re in the vicinity of a person who has a weakened immune system, you can make them deathly ill. so it’s shots for them, all the way. (we also have fun thinking about other live shots. i just try to make sure they get it right after i’ve had my IVig so that i have maximum infection fighting power in me, should i get sick. don’t know if it would actually work in reality, but it’s the only thing i can do. those kids are not going without their shots. period.)

i do get nervous about FluMist, though — there are a lot of grandmas and grandpas, for example, who may be exposed to their recently-misted grandkids. and they may get really sick because of it. and we’re not talking just a simple cough or sniffle.

still, at least i guess they’re getting vaccinated. it just reminds me of the situation with antibacterial soap and gel: someone devised it, thinking it will be an exceptionally easy way to kill even more germs than regular soap. what it does now is make those bacteria stronger and more antibiotic-resistant. but progress is all about making things easier for us, and this soap and gel was supposed to be emblematic of progress. and it is: progress gone awry. and now, we’re so damned frightened of making our kids have a few seconds of pain that we crave another solution, even if it might mean a public health problem for others.

i wonder whether ours is the first generation to wuss out over shots, as a friend put it.Β  we do not remember the polio epidemic; we cannot recall smallpox. we don’t know how horrible certain illnesses can be. heaven forbid our children have moments of pain, as if the pain is worse than the medical issue it’s meant to stave off. and some vaccines aren’t perfect; people sometimes get chickenpox even after receiving the vaccine. but the vaccines help more than they don’t; and i feel very strongly about immunizations.

that’s why i am sick to my stomach about a homeschooling network that exists specifically to homeschool because they do not want to give their children immunizations. i find this repugnant. while i have learned a lot about homeschooling since shooting my mouth off awhile back; and while i have a new respect for some who have chosen that path; this, to me, this particular thread is an outrage. this is not about education; this is a public health issue. to me, it’s tantamount to child abuse: these kids are sitting ducks for measles, polio, and other horrible illnesses. and no, it’s not just a week in bed and they’re better again, people.

and what will you do then — pray that they get better? exhaust your healthcare (if you have it) or else exhaust tax dollars (if you don’t)? all because you didn’t want them to get a shot?

i get really sick and tired about parental paranoia over the government. our government isn’t perfect. duh. but people talk about federal agencies as if they are composed entirely of automotons. guess what, folks: government agencies have just as many mindless people as you do in your office. there are people who care, and people who don’t. but mostly, and especially in the health sector, they do. people stake their careers on getting the info right. they know they have other peoples’ lives on the line. they’re not advocating immunizations because they think it’s a fun thing to do: they do it because they think it’s the right thing to do. and not just for your child — they’re thinking more globally. that’s what public health is all about.

so just as i will get extremely pissed at parents who let their babies swim in pools without plastic pants on (they put them in huggies swimmers and then marvel that their poop gets through, closing the pool down for fear of an E coli experience), i get extremely pissed at the parents who don’t immunize. oh, you say, you can’t trust the government. you don’t want the state telling you what to do with the precious children you’ve been entrusted.

i wonder who the hell entrusted you with those babes. if it was G-d, She must have been having a day off and you lucked out and squeezed through anyway.


15 Responses to “misty”

  1. Hear hear! I am amazed at the ignorance of people who still think there is mercury in immunizations. Never mind that it was never a problem in the first place. “Mother-knows-best” doesn’t trump polio, measles or whatever other super bugs our “for your convenience (or laziness)” society has created.

    The stupidity, it burns!

    For all those folks who say put your faith in God… well, by that reasoning, then he/she directed people to be scientists… who then researched immunizations which must also have been under divine direction.

    My girls have been immunized and are getting their flu shots this year (just like last year). They fussed because it hurts, and I told them that they can take the risk of getting really sick and dying or enduring the pain of a shot (which I am getting as well) and living. They didn’t take more than a few seconds to come to their conclusion and are getting their shots. They don’t have a choice, but having them work it out themselves is always a plus.

  2. I work with a man whose twins were born at 24 (26?) weeks. They spent the first four months of their lives in NICU. The family does not believe in immunizations of any kind. Those girls already have compromised immune systems. It’s like they’re begging for trouble.

    So I’m not labeled a sheep, we don’t use antimicrobial soap. We don’t take antibiotics unless really, really necessary (I cannot count the number of ear infections we’ve let nature handle).

  3. Timely! I just took the kids to get their flu shots today. (Liam couldn’t get his, though, because of a cold. Next week.) The doctor offered us the flu mist, but it was already after Thea had gotten her shot. She cried for about two seconds, then calmed right down and said, “Huh. It doesn’t hurt anymore.”

    I’m neither pro nor anti mist, but the idea of something being shot up my nose and sliding down the back of my throat is seriously gross.

  4. homeschooling: ok by me. not necessarily for fanatics. some states even have official homeschooling programs.

    not immunizing: absolutely irresponsible, and makes me want to seriously lobby for some sort of minimum-skills test for potential parents. but there will always be a tiny group of nutcases that believe the government is out to poison them. didn’t that happen with water flouridation too?

  5. i’m proud to say, btw, that both my kids took their flu shots like pros last week! the older one had to literally be held down last year.

  6. Nope. My kids are of course immunized against all the “big icky” things like polio and smallpox. But we don’t do flu shots. Also, I tried to opt them out of Chicken Pox because it was optional when my oldest started school but became required 2 years later. Oh well.

    Certainly we all want to protect our kids – no one wants their kids to suffer with illness. I’m obviously no health expert but I wonder whether forcing this constant assault against their little bodies with every disease known to man is entirely necessary. Again, I’m referring to things like flu and Chicken Pox which are only very rarely fatal, NOT major health issues such as Polio. I also wonder whether we’re creating more “superbugs” akin to what’s happening due to the over use of antibiotics. Time will tell . . . .

  7. honestly, though i’m forced to take a flu shot thanks to my immune system (or lack thereof), i am not entirely convinced that the flu shot will make a difference in the lives of people. but i need to read up on it some more, as my reading is a few years old now. FWIW, if it’s october and i’m getting my IVIG and i *haven’t* gotten my flu shot, they don’t let me out of the office without it.

    the shots in general get the immune response going. it’s not necessarily a bad thing. i’m especially familiar with them, as one of the ways people get diagnosed with CVID is to check their levels of antibodies on something like tetanus or HIB B — then give them a shot and recheck them six weeks later. if you’re like a normal person, you end up with a solid level of antibodies. if you’re a freak of nature like meself, then you are still subpar, in spite of the shot.

    think of it sort of like a namecheck for antibodies — hey, you tetanus guys in da house? and if you’re lucky, someone screams hell, yeah. if you’re not, then come sit next to me. if you’re not sick, i mean πŸ˜‰

  8. Immunization = good. Herd immunity keeps people like Sher alive. (We’d kind of like that to keep happening.)

    Homeschooling = bad. (I’ll grant exceptions for medical reasons). Wish I had been reading your blog back when comments were open on that. “I teach creation science to my kids…” Ugh. Those two words (three, really, including “teach” don’t ever belong together. How a parent can ever presume to know enough to teach a child everything she needs to be know to be a functional member of society is beyond me. Extremely intelligent, highly-educated professionals would very rarely claim they could teach the full K-12 curriculum. Saw an anti-government comment (well, many really) about why we should trust the government to make education choices for our children. The “creation science” comment is one good reason. There are a great many others. (Go to YouTube, search for “creation science 101” – much fun.) Oh well…

    Get your flu shots. The life you save may not be your own.

  9. Jen Jen: Immunizations do not create superbugs. Antibiotics do (or can), but that is an entirely different beast – bacteria vs. virus. Teaching our bodies to deal with viruses (which is what immunization manages) does not create super bugs – it just acts as if it already had the illness already and adapts to fight it when it “returns.” The reason we need an annual flu shot is because influenza mutates all by itself for a variety of reasons (fair warning: not a medical professional) and having contracted the flu (or having had a vaccination) does not necessarily protect you against future strains. This is NOT the same as antibacterial soaps creating ab-resistant bugs!

    Please do not opt out of immunizations for chicken pox, flu or other “less dangerous” diseases. As I mentioned above, even if a disease itself is not usually fatal -to a healthy person-, the herd immunity created by having a certain percentage of the population immunized helps keep immuno-compromised folks (or folks who for other medical reasons cannot receive vaccinations) from contracting the disease, where it IS often fatal, by preventing its spread in the first place.

  10. Scott G – thanks for the refresher on bacteria vs virus. I’m sure my HS biology teacher would have been shocked and dismayed at my misstep. (Wreke what was his name? The one who played the Jaws theme on the cello during dissections?) Then again there’s a lot of things from that era I choose to not remember . . . . .

  11. mr. holmquist, jen. the best high school biology teacher ever. may he rest in peace. he used to call us all by our last names, but instead of calling us Mr. or Miss, he called us Bacillus Smith or Bacillus Jones. loved him enough to take advanced bio, too. would have taken AP with him as well if i only could have fit it in my sked. sigh.

    …although i’m lucky i didn’t rest in peace after inhaling too much ether when we dealt with fruit flies in his class. wheeeeeee!

    but i digress. per usual.

    and i, too, try to not remember much from TRHSN, beyond you, amy, and a few others πŸ™‚

  12. Ah, Wreke, shrinking like a violet as usual, eh? Taking on the anti-vax crowd? Whoa nelly. We are vaxers over here for the above reasons — we want to keep people like you around. I’m down with the homeschooling though, even if it’s not my path.

  13. hey, i’m down with some homeschoolers. i learned a lot after i opened my big mouth. i was over the top in my initial posting, and i know it now.

    but i still believe in the public school system, and i still believe that people ought to work to improve things and not simply retreat from the public schools.

    but vaccinations? i don’t think i’ll ever see why anyone wouldn’t want to vaccinate their children. i really don’t.

  14. Seen the discussion on DCUM and thinking of you. Glad you can illuminate the issue for those of us who do not necessarily know the “ins and outs.”

  15. Vaccinations: CHECK

    EXCEPT . . . flu shot. I’m not necessarily opposed, but taking it on a year by year basis. I get bronchitis and sinusitis and that’s about it. Same for my husband. We’ll see what the girls bring home, and decide from there. So far, so good.

    My sister-in-law had such a bad reaction to the flu shot that she could hardly move her arms for months. She was a waitress at the time and had to quit. It took a year for all the effects to wear off. Some allergic reaction to the binding agent in the vaccine or something.

    I was skeptical of the chicken pox vaccine because I had CP twice, the second time as an adult and very serious. But our pediatrician made me feel comfortable with it, so the girls were vaccinated. Otherwise I’d be homeschooling them, and NO ONE should want me for a teacher. : )

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