Maybe that’s too extreme, but I despise the pressure to get one and the mentality that they’re a cure-all. They’re not. I do understand giving them to someone with a weaker or compromised immune system, I really do, but for someone like me, who tries to keep myself healthy and has done a pretty good job of warding off even the common cold, I don’t need the reminder to get one, nor do I want one.
I’m not a fan of flu shots. Every time I’ve gotten one, I’ve been home sick the next day with what feels like the flu. The last time I had the flu was in March 2002; it kicked my ass for a month. A MONTH. And wouldn’t you know it, the last time I had a flu shot was October 2001.
I see no point to getting one. I rarely ever get colds anymore; the only thing that keeps me home during cold season are migraines and that’s only if I throw up while having one.
Earlier this year, I made the decision to work in a hospital. This hospitals requires you to get a flu shot unless you have a religious exemption and you fill out a form – the form is two pages and asks for a religious leader’s name, place of worship and contact info. Not making that up kids. Or if you have a medical exemption and HALLELUJAH – I qualify for that one because I’m allergic to antibiotics.
I first noticed this allergy when I was 14. I had walking pneumonia and the doctor prescribed me two different antibiotics to take at the same time. I don’t know why, back then, you never questioned what a doctor did. A couple of weeks into the meds and my chest was covered in red bumps. Weird. Once I stopped both antibiotics, they eventually cleared up. I never made any connection at the time.
It was mid-1990s when I really noticed my reactions getting progressively worse. I had a root canal, it got infected and the antibiotic prescribed caused my body to be covered in fingernail-sized welts. And they were a lovely shade of dark pink. Luckily they didn’t pop out on my face, because if they had, I wouldn’t have gone out in public. No joke.
I started keeping track of antibiotics I was prescribed and what they did to me. Even my doctor didn’t believe it until she saw it for herself – I was getting ready for surgery and the antibiotic and needle were in my left hand. Five minutes after it was in, my left elbow (of all things) was itchy. When I pulled back the blanket – the pre-surgery room was about 40 degrees – there was welt at the insertion point and you could see it growing. I showed it to my doctor, she looked surprised, but she now believes.
Both my doctor and a nurse have recommended I get a medic alert bracelet. Since I don’t wear jewelry, I most likely will get the words “allergic to antibiotics” tattooed on my wrist. I do carry around the list of what I’m allergic just in case I need it at a doctor or dental office. You’d be amazed how many people don’t believe it’s real.
So back to flu shots. I’m not going to try and not get all conspiracy theory on you. What gets me the most riled up about this issue is that it’s becoming less and less of a choice whether or not we get a flu shot. I don’t want one and luckily, I can’t get one for medical reasons. If the day ever came when I was told to get flu shot – despite proof of my allergies – I’d lawyer up fast. I understand the health concerns, but I believe in personal choice first.