Do you get a flu shot? No, I’m going to get into the benefits of the flu shot or venture down the anti-vax rabbit hole, either. When I was younger, I would never get a flu shot. It wasn’t because I liked the flu, or that I thought vaccines were bad. I was young and healthy and never really caught the flu. Plus, I don’t like the idea of medication unless absolutely necessary.
That all changed in 2010. We were planning our trip to Africa and needed quite a few shots before we left. I visited, as I always do before exotic travel, the Northwestern Travel Clinic. I was talking with the nurse about all the vaccines and medications I must get: Typhoid, Yellow Fever and a Tetnus Booster. We also talked about the vaccines I could get: Malaria (not a vaccine, but you get the point) and Rabies. The doctor didn’t recommend the rabies vaccine as it wouldn’t prevent rabies, but just give you an additional 24 hours to find medical help. I decided to get the rabies vaccine as we’d be in rural Zimbabwe with very limited hospital and flight options. Easy enough.
Simple Question – No Answer
She then asked me about the annual flu vaccine. I told her I wasn’t interested in it at all. Struggling not to roll her eyes at me, she asked why. I explained that I’m not a fan of medication and the flu doesn’t really impact me. She then started spouting off stats on Americans getting rabies in Africa vs the flu at home or while traveling. She made a good point that I could not refute. If I’m afraid of a 1-in-300,000,000 chance of rabies vs a 1-in-5 chance of getting the flu. Logically it made sense to me.
It was from that moment on that I would get the flu shot each year. I have had no ill effects and have only caught the flu once in the past 8 years. With all the travel we do, anything that can keep the germs on airplanes, hotels and crowded spaces at bay is good in my book.
What are your thoughts on getting the flu shot? Do you think I was crazy for getting the rabies vaccines too?