Flu Vaccines: Fact vs. Fiction
I just hung up the phone after scheduling appointments for my children to receive their annual flu vaccines. Last week, at my monthly OB appointment I made sure to get mine. But can I be totally honest? I was scared. As irrational as I know that is based on all of the knowledge I have, my fear came purely out of the constant misinformation being spread by certain celebrities, blogs, websites, word of “mom” and media bombardment over the last years, that vaccines like the flu vaccine have preservatives in them that can cause autism. Fear is not necessarily rational so I allow myself to feel it, but I do not allow it to control my decision making. For that I use fact! I am going to make this post short and sweet but I want to get my point across in no uncertain terms to pregnant and non-pregnant moms so that you make the best decision for your unborn and born children based on facts, not from fear. If I can do it, you can too.
FACT: 158 children died from flu-related factors in the 2012-2013 flu season. That’s 5 times more than the previous season. 90 percent of the children that died had NOT received the vaccine. If they had, these tragedies could have been avoided.
FACT: Catching the flu while pregnant increases your chance of miscarriage and premature birth. Sickness in pregnancy is also dangerous for you as your body is already working so hard for the pregnancy that you are particularly vulnerable, and to layer on the flu increases your risks.
FACT: Getting the flu vaccine does not guarantee you won’t get the flu, but it does drastically reduce your chances. If you are pregnant it helps protect the baby from the flu for up to four months after delivery.
FACT: Getting the flu vaccine does not give you the flu. The slight sickness you may feel after receiving the shot is not the flu. There is no live virus in the shot; it is just your body reacting to the vaccination.
FICTION: There has never been a study that showed vaccines like the flu containing preservatives such as thimerosal (mercury based) causes autism. The 1998 study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield finding a link was proven to be FABRICATED and he was stripped of his medical license. But, if you are still afraid, there are preservative-free options.
Please weigh up what we know to be true and what we know to be false and make an educated call this flu season. Stay Healthy.