Quit whining and go get your flu shot
I swear, if I hear one more person say that they don’t get a flu shot because they got the flu from a flu shot, I will smite myself.
For the last time, people, you cannot get the flu from getting a flu shot. You really can’t. It simply is not possible because, as I told a colleague just yesterday, flu vaccines are made from dead flu viruses. Dead, deceased, pushing up the daisies. Ex-viruses. Viruses that are no more!
My friend the Elf, who really knows about these things, could probably tell you the exact process and all the bits and pieces about antibodies and antigens and so forth. (And if I hear much more about people “getting the flu from a flu shot,” I’ll have her come up here and set them straight, I really will, so help me.)
But in layman’s terms, what a vaccine actually does is teach your immune system how to recognize a “mockup” of the virus, or a dead specimen, so that it can build itself up to resist the real thing if it should happen to come along – sort of the same way that you teach small children not to go near an angry dog by showing them a picture of an angry dog, rather than chucking them in front of a rabid Doberman and letting nature take its course.
However, there is simply no convincing the conspiracy theorists. They’ll sit and listen to the above explanation, and then say “Oh well, the flu isn’t really that serious.”
Actually yes, it is. It’s not just a “touch of tummy trouble” or the sniffles. Rather, influenza lays you flat out for a week, sometimes two, during which you may sweat and shake with fever, or evacuate bodily fluids from all possible exits, or wheeze and gasp for breath as your lungs fill with goo, or a horrible combination of any or all of the above.
The unlucky – especially the elderly, small children, or people who already have things like asthma or dodgy immune systems – eventually die, horribly. Heard of the flu pandemic of 1918? That wiped out 50 million people, or about one and a half times the population of Canada. Some “tummy trouble,” huh?
But even this isn’t convincing enough, apparently. Last week, I sat open-mouthed with astonishment listening to two otherwise well-educated colleagues earnestly asserting that vaccines “make your immune system lazy.”
According to them, it’s simply much more reasonable to just take your chances and get the flu, in order to let your immune system “develop its own antibodies.” Never mind that the flu virus changes slightly each year (which is why we need an updated flu vaccine each year), and never mind that, as I said, the flu can actually kill you. Which I suppose would prevent you from getting the flu ever again, if it came to that.
With few fringe-y exceptions, people wouldn’t dream of not getting themselves and their kids vaccinated against polio, tetanus, or whooping cough – or exposing little MacKenzie and Ocean to diphtheria so that their little wee immune systems wouldn’t get “lazy”! (And don’t get me started on the discredited idiot Dr Andrew Wakefield, who falsely linked vaccines to autism and thus gave the “no vaccine” wing-nuts even more ammunition.…)
But for some reason, the flu shot just sets the conspiracy theorists to foaming at the mouth. Better a $7000 hospital visit or an appointment with the undertaker than that nasty old flu vaccine!
And this leaves me to conclude just one thing: that all these big talkers are simply afraid of a needle.
So stoppit with the excuses, people. The shots are free (in Canada, anyway). It stings for a second, and you might feel like you got a “punch-buggy” for the rest of the day. Whatever. You probably feel worse after lifting weights at the gym or shoveling your driveway.
So just go do it and stop being such a bunch of babies.
Besides, you get a lollipop afterwards. And what could be better than that?
— Smiter out