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PSA - Get a flu shot! (1 Viewer)

Sullie

Footballguy
It's getting to be flu season and I wanted to pass along this super long story about my brother.  You always think this kind of thing is going to happen to someone else.  I always suspect, when you hear these stories that there is more to it, an underlying health issue, something else going on, some other REAL reason this happened, probably a smoker, probably a drug user, probably had asthma, probably had a condition of some sort or another but I can assure you NONE of that is the case here.  I am very close to my brother, we're best of friends, we get together during football season and watch the Buckeyes together, him, myself and my son and I know my brother very well.

My brother is 53 years old and has always been very healthy, perhaps a bit overweight now with age and out of shape but he's always been a non-smoker, hard worker,  he was in the Air Force, then he got his BS in EE while in the Army Reserves and then he became a systems administrator 25+ years ago.   After many, many conversations, I followed in his footsteps, transitioning from a programmer to systems administrator 20+ years ago, yet another thing we've bonded on, having the same occupation.   Anyway, my brother got the flu at the end of December, fought it off, it seemed to go away but then it came back around the end of January.  He is the LAST person to EVER go to the hospital but, struggling to breath after a weekend of neither eating nor sleeping he called an Uber (because he figured it would get him to the hospital quicker than an ambulance) he admitted himself to a local hospital emergency room.  Within a few minutes he collapsed as his respiratory system shut down.  At that time, Dave was put into a medically induced coma and put on a ventilator on Tuesday January 29th.  Dave is single so the hospital called me at work.  I immediately went to the hospital, the news was very grim, he was given about a 50% chance of survival depending on the next 24 hours.

I called our mom, our sisters, etc. they came from all over the country.  I called my priest for last rites.  The ER physician actually talked to my brother and was very taken back by everything that happened.  One question he asked me "do you know his medical history?"  I said yes "he's not on any sort of medication, he's never even broken a bone, he's never spent a night in a hospital, and I don't think he even has a family doctor, he gets routine insurance checks (blood pressure screenings, blood tests, etc.) to get a rebate for his insurance at work but that's pretty much it."  He's always joked with me about it is why I know.  Anyway, at that time the doctor was very reassuring and said "he's fairly young, he's a non-smoker, I want to see how he does overnight but if he progresses like I think he will, I think he will pull out of this."  He added "Now, bear in mind, I always have to plan for the worst, just in case he takes a turn, so I have been talking to another physician at IU-Methodist so if he does not improve, I will send Dave there, it's a level 1 trauma center downtown (Indianapolis) and they would put Dave on an ECMO (an additional form of life support machine) and they would take over treatment but I really don't think all that will be necessary."  (The ECMO device takes your blood from your body, oxygenates it and re-introduces it back into your body.)

My wife joined me in the waiting room until about midnight, she left to be with our son.  My oldest sister got into Indy around 2 AM and she spent that night at the hospital in a waiting room, with me.  Our priest showed up that night around 7:30 or 8:00 to give Dave last rites because, well, when you see someone on a ventilator, no matter what anyone says, it's not very reassuring.  The next day my wife dropped my son off at school and joined me in the waiting room with my oldest sister.  The doctor came in and he looked like he was just punched in the gut, he was as white as a ghost, I immediately knew something was wrong.

The ER doctor said "I've been monitoring Dave all night, we have him on 100% oxygen in addition to being on a ventilator.  Your brother's 02 saturation level is hovering around 81% - 83% and dropping from 90% earlier, if it drops below 80% for a length of time his organs will begin to shut down, his heart, his kidneys, etc. and he will pass away if we don't move on this immediately."  He went on, "I need approval to move him to IU-Methodist downtown, they have an ECMO there, it could save his life."  I said "let's go!"

Dave was transported downtown to IU-Methodist, this is Wednesday (1/30) and when we finally got to see him, he was still in a medically induced coma, ventilator but now on ECMO, he had ARDS, sepsis, influenza and pneumonia.  He had at least 22 IV's (they had two IV stands, three levels with 5-6 IV bags per level) feeding tube, and at least 15 different monitors running, etc. but Dave was making progress there.  My other sister joined us in the hospital, it seemed like it was touch and go but by the end of the week, Sunday (2/3) Dave was actually out of the coma, sitting up in bed, watching the super bowl, he was awake, talking, laughing and we thought "wow, that was so quick, this is awesome!"  My sister's went home, my Mom stayed around, I went back to work on Monday (2/4) and our Mom was planning to go back home to Oklahoma, she's 83.

Monday afternoon we got bad news again, his O2 saturation levels suddenly and unexpectedly dropped, Dave would have to be induced again (put into a medically induced coma) and back on the ventilator, I left work and stayed in the hospital that week.  That week was rough!  We were told Dave's heart fell to pumping at 40%, his kidneys started to fail, he was put on dialysis on Wednesday (2/6).  We were told there was not much they could do except wait and pray.  His organs began to shut down that day and, again, I called my priest for last rites again and I started praying the rosary in the chapel.  I prayed at that chapel every single day because it gave me some level of comfort and there wasn't much else I could do really and to be quite frank, it's a very hopeless feeling, watching someone you love slip away and not being able to help.  Everyone was always wonderfully kind and nice but I always felt like I was in the way so I always did my best to be respectful of everyone's space there.

I kept praying for a solution, hope, anything positive really.  The next day, we got some good news, Dave's kidney's kicked in and he was taken off dialysis.  This was huge because that meant his organs were no longer shutting down.  I believe about 7-10 days later his heart was finally pumping back to 100% once again.  We went through this constant cycle of one day good news, some progress, the next not good news (not bad news, just no progress) but he kept fighting to recover.  Finally, by the end of February /beginning of March Dave was taken completely off the ECMO after 5 weeks I believe it was.  Dave was still on a ventilator, trachea, several IV's but about a week or so after that he was moved from the ICU to the 4th floor of the hospital, then to the 6th floor and then he was taken off ventilator but he had a trachea and oxygen with feeding tube removed, IV's removed but the slow recovery process would then begin.

Dave left the hospital and went to a long term care facility for a couple of weeks, his trachea was removed there.  From there Dave went to a nursing home about a mile or two from my home, we visited Dave every day and took him home for meals and 4 hours of "FREE" time.  Dave had slowly progressed, he eventually got off oxygen, he started walking and doing physical therapy, this had gone on for 3-4 weeks now and finally Dave got to go home the Saturday before Easter where he would continue to recover.   He immediately started to work from home for the next two weeks and after that he went back to work full time.

I want to leave this message with something I was immediately struck with at IU-Methodist hospital in downtown Indianapolis.  The hospital, downtown, is huge and has several floors to it.  That entire building and ALL those people are dedicated to saving lives.  Hundreds of good people there.  We have several hospitals, nursing homes, treatment centers all across the city, state, country and world with people that are dedicated to saving people's lives.  There is so much GOOD in the world going on that it gets overlooked.  We always hear the negative news, the bad things that happen, the bad things people are doing but so, so many people's lives are dedicated to helping others, it was a really enlightening experience for me.  Even though my Mom and two of my three sisters are nurses, still, it never really hit me because that was Mom doing her job or my sister's doing their jobs, it was never really presented to me as "well, I saved some guy's life today at work. . ." they never, ever talked about that when I was growing up, they're all very selfless people actually.  I did hear a lot of funny stories though growing up. :)  

Sorry for the long message, I did my best to condense several months worth of events into a single posting, some of this was from memory, texts and e-mails to friends and family.  Anyway, one question that came up, time and time again with respect to my brother.  From the very first ER doctor, to each and every single person that worked on my brother "Did he get a flu shot?"  And, last year, the answer was no.  I was told several times that this "probably" would not have happened had he gotten a flu shot.  Sometimes, I was told it may have occurred anyway but 90% of the healthcare workers were pretty emphatic about getting a flu shot.  Here is a link from the CDC's website.  I looked over that list and the ONLY thing on that list that applies to my brother is that he was over 50 (53 now but 52 at the time) and that's it.  So I would suggest, if you're on the fence, any of those things from the CDC's site apply to you, please read this as a cautionary tale and regardless, I would suggest getting a flu shot.

 
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Sullie

Footballguy
I've been getting a flu shot for years and years now.  I think our son was 2 (?) when he came home with the flu, then my wife got it and then I got it.  Those two bounced back really quickly (this is like 13 years ago) but for some reason my flu experience was not at all like theirs, I got so sick that at that time I swore I would get a flu shot from then on out.  My wife and son have been getting them for years and years now as well.  And what makes it even easier for me is that my work has a company come in and they provide them for the low, low price of free.  So, for me, it's a no brainer.

 
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shadrap

Footballguy
I've been getting one for last 3 years.  Nothing worse(well some things) than laying in bed & even the sheets hurt.  When you haven't been sick for awhile it's easy to get complacent.   IMO

 

Terminalxylem

Footballguy
Great story. Thanks for sharing.

I’ll add there are other adult vaccinations as well: pneumonia, tetanus and shingles, plus boosters for stuff you probably received as a child, but have resurfaced due to anti-vaxxers like measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough.

 

[icon]

Insoxicated
Damn.

I’d always been anti-flu-shot. Have never gotten one at 43.

I think I’m going to get one this week. 

 

Scoresman

Footballguy
I get it because my doctor just gives it to me at annual physicals but is it true that they are pretty much guessing at what strain to use and that it's only effective against that one strain, so a low chance it will ever do any good? 

 

Terminalxylem

Footballguy
I get it because my doctor just gives it to me at annual physicals but is it true that they are pretty much guessing at what strain to use and that it's only effective against that one strain, so a low chance it will ever do any good? 
It’s an educated guess, based on the predominant and emerging minor strains from the prior season. It’s typically good against 3 or 4 strains, and it’s roughly 50% effective, though that varies year-to-year.

 
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-OZ-

Footballguy
For the last few years the 5 guys have gotten flu shots but Mom has refused. She just hates shots, like passes out because of them. 

This year, St Jude's has been very clear with us that we all need them, gave our daughter her flu shot last week. Oldest 2 boys got theirs last week, the rest of us including my wife, will get ours when we get back from vacation. 

 

Sullie

Footballguy
My brother is doing really well, he has gotten his flu shot and because of all this he also got a pneumonia shot and he’s working out and he’s cleaned up his diet mostly because he’s got a doctor now and his doctor rides him hard about his weight, my doctor is always on me as well.

 

CletiusMaximus

Footballguy
I don’t understand why anti-vaxxers are so vilified while anti-flu-shooters largely get a pass.  There is no downside to it and there’s a very good chance it will prevent you from getting the flu.  No brainer. 

Thanks for the psa and for telling your story. 

 

Terminalxylem

Footballguy
I don’t understand why anti-vaxxers are so vilified while anti-flu-shooters largely get a pass.  There is no downside to it and there’s a very good chance it will prevent you from getting the flu.  No brainer. 

Thanks for the psa and for telling your story. 
I don’t really distinguish between the two, but I suppose an argument can be made that anti-vaxxers are worse because they’ve allowed nearly eradicated diseases to resurface due to their behavior, and they are imposing their flawed values on kids.

Refusing the flu shot certainly poses some risk to the individual and impairs herd immunity, but the vaccines are far less effective than comparable ones for childhood illnesses like measles, mumps and rubella. It’s been less than a decade since universal flu immunization has been recommended, in part because the benefit for otherwise healthy individuals is underwhelming

We included 52 clinical trials of over 80,000 people assessing the safety and effectiveness of influenza vaccines. We have presented findings from 25 studies comparing inactivated parenteral influenza vaccine against placebo or do‐nothing control groups as the most relevant to decision‐making. The studies were conducted over single influenza seasons in North America, South America, and Europe between 1969 and 2009. We did not consider studies at high risk of bias to influence the results of our outcomes except for hospitalisation. 

Inactivated influenza vaccines probably reduce influenza in healthy adults from 2.3% without vaccination to 0.9% (risk ratio (RR) 0.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.36 to 0.47; 71,221 participants; moderate‐certainty evidence), and they probably reduce ILI from 21.5% to 18.1% (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.75 to 0.95; 25,795 participants; moderate‐certainty evidence; 71 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to prevent one of them experiencing influenza, and 29 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to prevent one of them experiencing an ILI). The difference between the two number needed to vaccinate (NNV) values depends on the different incidence of ILI and confirmed influenza among the study populations. Vaccination may lead to a small reduction in the risk of hospitalisation in healthy adults, from 14.7% to 14.1%, but the CI is wide and does not rule out a large benefit (RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.08; 11,924 participants; low‐certainty evidence). Vaccines may lead to little or no small reduction in days off work (‐0.04 days, 95% CI ‐0.14 days to 0.06; low‐certainty evidence). Inactivated vaccines cause an increase in fever from 1.5% to 2.3%. 

We identified one RCT and one controlled clinical trial assessing the effects of vaccination in pregnant women. The efficacy of inactivated vaccine containing pH1N1 against influenza was 50% (95% CI 14% to 71%) in mothers (NNV 55), and 49% (95% CI 12% to 70%) in infants up to 24 weeks (NNV 56). No data were available on efficacy against seasonal influenza during pregnancy. Evidence from observational studies showed effectiveness of influenza vaccines against ILI in pregnant women to be 24% (95% CI 11% to 36%, NNV 94), and against influenza in newborns from vaccinated women to be 41% (95% CI 6% to 63%, NNV 27). 

Live aerosol vaccines have an overall effectiveness corresponding to an NNV of 46. The performance of one‐ or two‐dose whole‐virion 1968 to 1969 pandemic vaccines was higher (NNV 16) against ILI and (NNV 35) against influenza. There was limited impact on hospitalisations in the 1968 to 1969 pandemic (NNV 94). The administration of both seasonal and 2009 pandemic vaccines during pregnancy had no significant effect on abortion or neonatal death, but this was based on observational data sets. 

Authors' conclusions

Healthy adults who receive inactivated parenteral influenza vaccine rather than no vaccine probably experience less influenza, from just over 2% to just under 1% (moderate‐certainty evidence). They also probably experience less ILI following vaccination, but the degree of benefit when expressed in absolute terms varied across different settings. Variation in protection against ILI may be due in part to inconsistent symptom classification. Certainty of evidence for the small reductions in hospitalisations and time off work is low. Protection against influenza and ILI in mothers and newborns was smaller than the effects seen in other populations considered in this review. 

Vaccines increase the risk of a number of adverse events, including a small increase in fever, but rates of nausea and vomiting are uncertain. The protective effect of vaccination in pregnant women and newborns is also very modest. We did not find any evidence of an association between influenza vaccination and serious adverse events in the comparative studies considered in this review. Fifteen included RCTs were industry funded (29%).
Don’t get me wrong, I get vaccinated every year, and think everybody else should as well. But realize the benefit is modest at best.

 

Mister CIA

Footballguy
I don’t understand why anti-vaxxers are so vilified while anti-flu-shooters largely get a pass.  There is no downside to it and there’s a very good chance it will prevent you from getting the flu.  No brainer. 

Thanks for the psa and for telling your story. 
Better messaging would help.  For the longest time, "protecting the herd" never crossed my mind.  To me it was always, "It would suck to be me if I got the flu."

 
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gianmarco

Footballguy
I don’t really distinguish between the two, but I suppose an argument can be made that anti-vaxxers are worse because they’ve allowed nearly eradicated diseases to resurface due to their behavior, and they are imposing their flawed values on kids.

Refusing the flu shot certainly poses some risk to the individual and impairs herd immunity, but the vaccines are far less effective than comparable ones for childhood illnesses like measles, mumps and rubella. It’s been less than a decade since universal flu immunization has been recommended, in part because the benefit for otherwise healthy individuals is underwhelming

Don’t get me wrong, I get vaccinated every year, and think everybody else should as well. But realize the benefit is modest at best.
All of this. 

There's a big difference between the flu vaccine and the regular vaccine schedule for preventable illnesses for the reasons outlined above.

I'm required to get the flu vaccine and would otherwise do so as well. But I'm not getting it so that I don't have to suffer with the flu for a few days if I were to get it. I get it to prevent spread to others and, while rare in healthy adults, the sometimes devastating illness that some people with flu can end up getting (see the OP). 

Those that are at higher risk either due to age (very young and very old) or chronic health problems should be getting it whenever they are able to. The rest of us are much less likely to have a severe, life threatening course, but it does happen. And when you look at those people, most of them didn't vaccinate.

 
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D-Day

Footballguy
I don’t understand why anti-vaxxers are so vilified while anti-flu-shooters largely get a pass.  There is no downside to it and there’s a very good chance it will prevent you from getting the flu.  No brainer. 

Thanks for the psa and for telling your story. 
In 2001, my father came down with Guillain-Barré  (basically made him a quadriplegic for about a month) and one of the suspected causes at the time was flu shots.  Concerned about a genetic trigger, I stopped getting the flu shot until 2018.  My wife had a liver transplant and is on anti-rejection meds, so she needs the shot and anyone living in the household now needs to get the flu shot each year.

 

SHIZNITTTT

Footballguy
 Working in healthcare it amazes me how many people I have worked with over the years who refuse to get a flu shot.   Hospitals bent to the will of the anti flu people but over the years they have made them sign a waiver, wear masks the entire time in the hospital, to letting people actually go for refusing their flu shot.     

 

eoMMan

Footballguy
I don’t understand why anti-vaxxers are so vilified while anti-flu-shooters largely get a pass.  There is no downside to it and there’s a very good chance it will prevent you from getting the flu.  No brainer. 

Thanks for the psa and for telling your story. 
I think a lot of it has to do with children having weaker immune systems compared to adults. Young children do indeed get an influenza shot (I thought it was part of the vax "pack"?)

 

Terminalxylem

Footballguy
In 2001, my father came down with Guillain-Barré  (basically made him a quadriplegic for about a month) and one of the suspected causes at the time was flu shots.  Concerned about a genetic trigger, I stopped getting the flu shot until 2018.  My wife had a liver transplant and is on anti-rejection meds, so she needs the shot and anyone living in the household now needs to get the flu shot each year.
The vaccine-GBS link has been largely debunked. Outside of the swine flu vaccine of 1976, there has never been any association, let alone causality established for any influenza vaccine. Moreover, the is no clear pattern of heritability for GBS, as almost all cases are sporadic.

You’re definitely doing the right thing by getting vaccinated.

 

Sullie

Footballguy
All of this. 

There's a big difference between the flu vaccine and the regular vaccine schedule for preventable illnesses for the reasons outlined above.

I'm required to get the flu vaccine and would otherwise do so as well. But I'm not getting it so that I don't have to suffer with the flu for a few days if I were to get it. I get it to prevent spread to others and, while rare in healthy adults, the sometimes devastating illness that some people with flu can end up getting (see the OP). 

Those that are at higher risk either due to age (very young and very old) or chronic health problems should be getting it whenever they are able to. The rest of us are much less likely to have a severe, life threatening course, but it does happen. And when you look at those people, most of them didn't vaccinate.
A couple of good points here I wanted to emphasize.  Several years ago my Mother-In-Law was diagnosed with lung cancer and she had to go through several rounds of chemo and radiation.  Because she had a compromised immune system ALL of us, in her immediate family, made sure we had flu shots before we visited her.  If any of us had the sniffles, a sore throat or anything of the sort, we refused to visit her no matter how much we wanted to.  And, even back then, that put my mind in the place of "wow, how many people around are themselves or have family going through chemo or radiation, etc." another eye opener.

When my brother was first put in ICU this year and I would go visit him, it was rare that I would get to speak with his team of doctors.  I believe he had 8 doctors, they would do rounds and by chance I was able to speak to the group a couple of times.  I was asking specific questions about my brother's situation and even though I've been a big believer of getting a flu shot for well over a decade now, I asked that team point blank "why is he here, does he have a heart condition or some underlying condition that caused this, etc.?"  And the lead physician was a big, blunt guy and he spun around (he heard me talking to the lung physician) and he said "hey look, we can connect up to 8 people to an ECMO and we have 8 connected right now, all of them are here with the flu, none of them got a flu shot, that's why he's here, he didn't get a flu shot."   I asked my physician about it and he said "I don't agree with that, I have lost patients to the flu that have gotten the flu shot, your brother is actually very, very fortunate to be alive to be quite honest.  However,  I feel pretty strongly about people getting flu shots and I think if you're going to get one, get one earlier in the season so your body has a chance to build up its immune system earlier, that's just my theory, I've been doing this for a long time and it's my hunch."

 

Godsbrother

Footballguy
Thanks for sharing this, I was expecting the worst so glad to hear he pulled through.

I get a flu shot every year and due to get this year's on Tuesday.   Such an easy and cheap thing to do (most insurance will cover it for free)

 

Da Guru

Fair & Balanced
Wow, I have never had the flu that I know of or a flu shot in my life.  I am going to have to rethink this.

 

WDIK2

Footballguy
 Working in healthcare it amazes me how many people I have worked with over the years who refuse to get a flu shot.   Hospitals bent to the will of the anti flu people but over the years they have made them sign a waiver, wear masks the entire time in the hospital, to letting people actually go for refusing their flu shot.     
There was only 1 person in the small hospital I worked at who wouldn't get a flu shot.  She was on the business admin side so in a lot of meetings.  It just amazed me that she was willing to wear a mask all day instead of getting the shot.  Maybe she had a bad experience one time.  :shrug:  

 

culdeus

Have good
I thought the perceived ineffective side of it is they don't know exactly what flavors of the flu will show up any given year.  

 

STEADYMOBBIN 22

Footballguy
The only time I ever got one was when our firstborn was an infant and I was pressured into getting one. I got sick as a dog.

So I have gotten a flue shot 1/42 years. 

Im open to listening and learning more about it but I need to do some more research before I get another. 

Sullie, extremely happy for you (and him,) that your brother pulled through. 

 
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Sinn Fein

Footballguy
I don't think this is possible since the virus in the flu shot are dead but I am guessing that won't convince you.
I did not get the flu from the shot.

I got the shot, and still got the flu.

I have not gotten the shot otherwise, and have not gotten the flu otherwise.

My wife and kids get it annually (kids used to get mist, but I think they did away with that).  

 

Godsbrother

Footballguy
I did not get the flu from the shot.

I got the shot, and still got the flu.

I have not gotten the shot otherwise, and have not gotten the flu otherwise.

My wife and kids get it annually (kids used to get mist, but I think they did away with that).  
Yes the flu shot does not protect from all flu virus but if it reduces your chances of getting the most likely flu strains what is the downside?

 

TheIronSheik

SUPER ELITE UPPER TIER
So you can't get the flu from the flu shot but there are two things to keep in mind:

1) You can get sick (or feel sick) after getting the flu shot, but it's not the flu.  And while that seems like splitting hairs, if you've ever had the actual flu you know it's way worse than just being sick.  

2) I think my doctor said it takes like 2 weeks for the vaccine to fully take effect, so you might get the flu after getting the shot, but that's because the flu beat the vaccine to the punch.

That said, I used to always skip the flu shot because a lot of times I'd get sick after the shot.  I was that guy preaching to people that I wouldn't get it because it made me sick.  Then about 6 years ago, I got the flu.  It felt like death.  In fact, I would have welcomed death during that 4 day period to stop the pain and agony.  I remember laying in bed with 5 layers of clothes on and 6 blankets piled on top of me freezing and thinking to myself, "If I survive this, I'll never miss getting another flu shot."  

Now I make sure I get one every single year.  

 

WDIK2

Footballguy
I thought the perceived ineffective side of it is they don't know exactly what flavors of the flu will show up any given year.  
Yes, some years the shot is more effective than others depending on the strain(s) they anticipated.

ETA:  May depend on what is going around a region also.  :shrug:  

 
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Terminalxylem

Footballguy
I did not get the flu from the shot.

I got the shot, and still got the flu.

I have not gotten the shot otherwise, and have not gotten the flu otherwise.

My wife and kids get it annually (kids used to get mist, but I think they did away with that).  
Were you actually diagnosed with influenza? Do you think the shot had anything to do with causing the flu?

 

Sinn Fein

Footballguy
Were you actually diagnosed with influenza? Do you think the shot had anything to do with causing the flu?
Yes - I got the flu from my wife (who also had a shot that year).  There were two big strains going around that year - the shot we got covered one strain, we ended up getting the other strain.

The flu shot had nothing to do with me getting the flu - its a correlation, not a causation. 

But, I have never gotten the flu any other year...so I don't see the point.  :shrug:

My wife works in healthcare, and she gets a shot every year.  My kids get the shot every year.  I do not get the shot.  

 

Sullie

Footballguy
Yes - I got the flu from my wife (who also had a shot that year).  There were two big strains going around that year - the shot we got covered one strain, we ended up getting the other strain.

The flu shot had nothing to do with me getting the flu - its a correlation, not a causation. 

But, I have never gotten the flu any other year...so I don't see the point.  :shrug:

My wife works in healthcare, and she gets a shot every year.  My kids get the shot every year.  I do not get the shot.  
I read your post and it gave me chills man, it's so bizarre because those words and the shrug and all that is EXACTLY the same words and attitude my brother had.  I am absolutely nobody, I'm not an expert or anything close to being an expert.  I am merely some random dude on the internet so I totally get it, I wouldn't listen to me either, honestly I don't mean that in a sarcastic way,  I really mean it, I just wanted to reach out and share this story is all.  

When my brother was laying there and we were told he may not make it, I googled things like "ecmo+flu+survival" and what not.  I was just looking for hope when it all seemed so hopeless.  One of the results from that search is that I found this story online from a man that went through almost the exact same experience but it happened in San Diego.  Here's a link.

I believe one's mind has a way of protecting you because I read that story and afterwards I was completely full of hope you know?  I felt really good afterwards so when someone was asking me about it, I sent them this article and in searching for it, I went back and reread it again because I thought it was an uplifting story.  So, what my mind filtered out at the time was this part “When Ryan was in ICU, there were five other patients on ECMO [a life support system] for the same condition he was in. Ryan was the only survivor.”  I think it's funny my mind filtered that sentence out.

 

Sinn Fein

Footballguy
Just to be clear - I don't have a problem with anyone getting a flu shot.  I don't think there is anything dangerous about getting a flu shot.  It probably is one of those things that has a very limited downside.

I don't like needles - hence I don't want to voluntarily get a shot.  I don't see the flu as a big risk - albeit in rare cases it can be deadly.

The year I got the shot - our pediatrician had stopped giving the mist, and so our kids were kind of balking at getting the shot - so I got it also to set an example for them.  Now they just get it and don't ask if I have gotten it.  Me getting the flu was just dumb luck - my wife happened to get the other strain, and as a result I got it from her.

 

Sullie

Footballguy
Did he at least get annual bloodwork done prior to falling ill?

Did he go to the doctor or the urgent care clinic when he initially got the flu in December?
I believe he got annual blood work done through his company so he could get a rebate from insurance.  He has had a TON of blood work done since, he has hypertension, which does not surprise me because I have it, as did my Dad, my mom and 2 of my sisters but that is it.  While he was going through this, they checked him for everything you can think of, cancer, HIV, anything and everything and he came back clear.  He had a follow up and, again, his blood work came back good, he doesn't even have high cholesterol (none of us do in my family.)

I wanted to add another side note - so his company used to offer the flu shot and as part of the on-site wellness check he used to get the shot but when they quit offering the shot some years ago, he just said "meh, I've still gotten the flu even when I've had the shot, I think it's useless, etc." so he would never go out of his way to get a flu shot.

So, when he got the flu in December, he did not go to urgent care (this was early December) and he got through it and seemed completely over it to me.  One bit I did leave out was that the week he came down with the flu there were 3 other guys at his office that came down with it so he's pretty convinced he got it all over again from a co-worker.  In fact, when he was in the hospital, his boss visited and he said "3 of his co-workers are sick with the flu right now."  All of those guys are much younger (in their 30's) and all of them bounced right back. 

 
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Rhythmdoctor

Footballguy
Thanks for sharing your story.  I still won't get a flu shot.  There's an exception to everything. The doctor said a flu shot 'probably' would have prevented this.  That's not very convincing.  I don't believe in flu shots.  

 

PlayaHata

Footballguy
Thanks for sharing @Sullie.  I had an eerily similar situation happy to the wife of one of my co-workers about 5 years ago.  She was a very healthy 40yo mother of 3.  Came down with the flu and next thing you know she was in a medically induced coma for 10 days or so, coming about as close to death as you can before pulling though.  She then spent something like 5-6 weeks in rehab before finally going back home.

Before hearing stories like this, I always thought "It's just the flu, how bad can it be?"  Let me assure you, it can be fatal - for anyone.  Get a flu shot!

 

Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
I get it because my doctor just gives it to me at annual physicals but is it true that they are pretty much guessing at what strain to use and that it's only effective against that one strain, so a low chance it will ever do any good? 
This is true, however my wife and I both got the flu one year and she was way worse off then me because while the flu shot I got obviously did not prevent me from getting that strain it did at least help suppress the symptoms/potency.

 

Mjolnirs

Footballguy
I've gotten one for over 10 years now.  I caught the flu and never want to be that sick again.

I work from home now, but the hospital now requires all employees that work at the facility to get one.  I will be scheduling mine for next week.

 

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