A head-up from Maynard

The flu is pretty unpleasant. I usually get a flu shot just on general principle, although I’m not sure if it does me any good. I’d want to know the real numbers: The likelihood of contracting the flu with and without the shot. If there’s one chance in five that getting the shot saves me a case of the flu, it’s worth it. If it’s one chance in fifty, then I’d skip it.

But I guess that question has no general answer. Among other things, your susceptibility will be affected by your personal health and your social contacts. If you’re sickly and cross paths with a lot of unhygienic slobs, then a flu shot is probably an excellent idea. If you live in a lighthouse or Mom’s basement and never go out, then maybe not.

The minor adverse reactions to getting jabbed varies from person to person. Personally, my biggest frustration is the muscle soreness. My sleep is disrupted for a couple of nights, because I can’t roll over without pain in my arm.

That’s why the introduction of intradermal shots caught my eye. These inject into the skin rather than the deeper muscle. They also inject less fluid.

If you want to get the innoculation and you’ve been troubled by muscle soreness or fear of needles, then look into these newfangled intradermal shots. They’re approved for people up to age 64.

For further information, see this article. The intradermals are widely available now; I got the treatment at my local CVS MinuteClinic. It costs about $5 more than the conventional shot, which I’m gladly willing to pay.

My personal report, 36 hours after receiving the shot, is that there is some mild swelling and pinkness around the injection point, but there has been none of the pain of the conventional vaccination.

There’s also the nasal FluMist (see CDC article and manufacturer website) for people under 50. FluMist costs more and is not as ubiquitous. I might have considered it if it had been an option.

There has been some discussion that we we may soon have a universal flu vaccine, and then we won’t have to do this every year. But until that happens, here we are.

(I know there are a few people out there that are disinclined to get vaccinated, and I don’t want to start an argument with you. I’m just laying out the options.)

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3 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. WalkStar says:

    Thanks Maynard! I skipped the shot last year but may try again! Is the mist as effective?

  2. norm1111 says:

    The flu shot is near 100% effective..however, it is specific for one particular virus that goes around the planet each year. A retrovirus which means for each individual it infects, it steals a piece of RNA (DNA minus the deoxy). Hence the reason the change in the shot. DNA virus’ don’t change …ie..chicken pox, measles etc..that is why those immunizations are virtually the same as they were when the smart guys figured them out.

    But this annual flu shot does nothing for the ….uhhh, uncounted number of virus’ species floating hither and thither throughout the Walmart. I still recommend the shot and get it myself, because this flu is not your 48 hour headache/upset stomach…it is 2 or 3 weeks of being really sick. And downright dangerous for old folks, little folks and immunosuppressed….the old 1915 WWI flu that killed millions is this same dude (only a bit different because of the nature of retrovirus’).

    Oh yes, then there are the bacterium…we don’t even want to go there…..

    • Alain41 says:

      Good info. Norm, thanks.

      Reminder: The deadly WWI flu disproportinately killed the healthy normal people (30 yr. olds), not the infants or aged. I forget the reason why, but that was one of unusual aspects of that flu and part of the reason why it was so deadly (greater population overall and greater travel population).

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