Freaky Friday

Happy Friday the 13th! On this “Freaky Friday,” I thought I would discuss that most scintillating of subjects – THE FLU SHOT! I am not feeling very well today – a combination of the virus I have been fighting / dental issues / Behçet’s / steroids / steroid withdrawal / the long day and long drive yesterday / the flu shot – but I wanted to state how IMPORTANT it is for everyone who CAN do so to get your flu shot. YOU CANNOT GET THE FLU FROM THE “INACTIVATED” FLU SHOT. If you do not understand the specifics of this, please talk with your physician! At any rate, it is a very important topic for me as I am a person with a primary immunodeficiency (that is, a “congenital” immune deficiency or one that has not been caused by “secondary” factors, such as HIV / AIDS; primary immune deficiencies are NOT contagious – they are just “illnesses” in which we don’t produce certain classes of immunoglobulins or subclasses of them or we don’t produce enough of them, &c.) and as a child I quite literally looked death squarely in the eye more times than I could ever attempt to recollect. If someone caught a cold that I happened to catch, I would be sick and out of school for 3 months; I have caught more than my “fair share” of uncommon illnesses, most of which I “contracted” from sources that wouldn’t cause a “normal, healthy” person to get sick or to get SO TERRIFYINGLY SICK> At any rate, I am just a “representative” of one of MANY “classes” of “susceptible” individuals – all of us can easily die from a virus like the flu (“normal, healthy” people also die from the flu – flu strains are not viruses you really want to screw around with – if you don’t know about the 1918 pandemic, please do your research.

At any rate, it is important not only for your health and for the health of your families to get the flu shot, but for those “susceptible” individuals whose immune systems are compromised for one reason or another. I want to talk about this in greater detail here later on, but it really is very important to get your flu vaccine as soon as possible (recommended by the end of October; I try to get mine BY October, which I did this year!). You MIGHT have side effects from the shot which you might construe as “flu-like,” but I PROMISE with everything that it is not the flu (unless you happened to have contracted the flu BEFORE you got the shot or before your body has had the 2-3ish weeks it takes to produce the antibodies to the flu strains included in the vaccination) and these side effects are very minor compared to what you might face with the flu. I know more than one individual who caught a flu strain that was in the flu shot and ended up VERY SICK but whose doctors told them they would have died (without question) if they had NOT gotten their flu shots. That’s a big statement, and it’s an important one. The flu does kill people; secondary infections and opportunistic infections that arise when you get the flu and your immune system is already fighting the flu also kill people.

I do not want to get into a “vaccination” debate here – I personally believe from MY experience and from those of others that it is something of a crap shoot – there is no CAUSATION per se but there may be “correlations;” my SPECIFIC belief is that there are certain vaccinations that some people just cannot get (for me, that’s the Pneumovax which caused me very severe cellulitis both times I received it; there are others, but that’s the biggie); I am by no means AGAINST VACCINATION BECAUSE I HAVE HAD SOME BAD EXPERIENCES WITH VACCINES! That is a foolish stand to take – to take one or two specific events (oh, type/token causality! heh!) SPECIFIC to certain individuals and to generalize that for entire populations. It just doesn’t work that way.

At any rate, that is my “short” rant for this Friday 13th – please get your flu shot – if not for you and your family, for all the kids out there who have compromised immune systems. Thanks much for taking the time to read this and I hope you are all having a happy and healthy day wherever you are in the world! Stay well!!

❤ Always, Beth


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