mask or flu shot?

  1. 1
    Hi all,
    New York State recently passed a law requiring all healthcare personnel to get the flu shot or wear a mask. I know this has been going on for a while in other states. I'd like to hear from any nurses or students who have previously opted to wear the mask instead of getting the shot - how was your experience? how did your patients react? did it impact your ability to do your job in any way? was the mask bearable?

    thank you
    blondy2061h likes this.

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  2. 23 Comments...

  3. 1
    I've done it the last three years. Apparently there's finally an egg-free vaccine, so I guess I'll be the guinea pig for that this year. But the mask isn't that bad. Especially if half your patients are on droplet precautions anyway. My patients have only asked about it a couple times, and when I told them why, they didn't care or even thought it was ridiculous.
    lilangel6828 likes this.
  4. 4
    I'd gladly choose the mask, but many of the hospitals in the area and across the country are not giving workers an option. Instead mandation is the name of the game. I don't believe in flu shots. We all know they are not very effective, and it is a guessing game. Everyone pushing the shot wants to downplay the risks and pretend they don't exist and lie about how safe it is. Sure its safe until you're the one with guillian barre! They claim the risk is 1 in 100,000, well I guess we'll find out as there are millions of nurses alone, plus all the other health care workers across the country. Also I wonder if there are other side effects unknown such as increase in autoimmune diseases like MS? If I understand right the new egg free vaccines are made via insects, sounds creepy if you ask me!

    Truth be told a mask would do more to prevent us from becoming infected by all the patients we treat vs them us. I bet a mask would be more effective than a shot, of course it doesn't benefit big pharma! I would choose a mask anyday. Just think you wouldn't even have to fake a smile!
    Last edit by brandy1017 on Sep 12, '13
  5. 1
    Actually, I believe the egg free are made from a line of cells that came from a cocker spaniel.
    imintrouble likes this.
  6. 2
    Mask, most definately! The flu shot is not worth the risk.
    lilangel6828 and icecreamcake like this.
  7. 9
    Quote from brandy1017
    I'd gladly choose the mask, but many of the hospitals in the area and across the country are not giving workers an option. Instead mandation is the name of the game. I don't believe in flu shots. We all know they are not very effective, and it is a guessing game. Everyone pushing the shot wants to downplay the risks and pretend they don't exist and lie about how safe it is. Sure its safe until you're the one with guillian barre! They claim the risk is 1 in 100,000, well I guess we'll find out as there are millions of nurses alone, plus all the other health care workers across the country. Also I wonder if there are other side effects unknown such as increase in autoimmune diseases like MS? If I understand right the new egg free vaccines are made via insects, sounds creepy if you ask me!

    Truth be told a mask would do more to prevent us from becoming infected by all the patients we treat vs them us. I bet a mask would be more effective than a shot, of course it doesn't benefit big pharma! I would choose a mask anyday. Just think you wouldn't even have to fake a smile!
    Your odds of dying in a car crash are 1 in 84. Stop driving. Pharmaceutical companies actually lose money on flu vaccinations, as they have to be retooled and remanufactured every year, and are kind of required to overestimate their demand. Also, did you know the red dye in your lipstick and food is made from bugs? Enjoy!

    OP: If you don't want to get the flu shot, don't. If you do, great. I have found wearing a mask makes me uncomfortable all day, but has made my patients feel more comfortable knowing they have less chance of catching germs from me. I got my flu shot late last year, so had to wear a mask for a while until I got around to it.
    Last edit by NurseDirtyBird on Sep 13, '13
  8. 1
    If I had to chose, I would chose the injection.
    Last edit by JDZ344 on May 14, '14
    prnqday likes this.
  9. 8
    I don't think we'll get a choice to opt for mask this year. I don't care how safe it is or how "effective," I resent being forced to get it. I've never had the flu, and I didn't get vaccines for it until last year. Something about eating well and taking care of yourself does a lot for your immune system. Hand hygiene gets a lot of credit too!
    brandy1017, geoffreyg, icecreamcake, and 5 others like this.
  10. 0
    2012 was a bad year for me health wise (I spent basically the whole of 2012 in the hospital myself for a setback related to my spinal cord injury and right before I was going to be DC'd to home in May of 2012 a spinal headache that I had had previously reared its ugly head and the neurosurgeons suspected it was a chronic CSF leak from one of my spine surgeries for severe scoliosis. Not being able to locate it on radiographs my local NSG couldn't treat the CSF leak b/c he didn't know where to look for it and didn't want to do a multi level lami, so I stayed in LTAC for a few months until I was able to get to a CSF leak specialist at a tertiary care/teaching hospital in the big city near me in So. Cal). Anyways, after I finally got my CSF leak repaired I was transferred to a rehab hospital that deals with a LOT of spinal cord injury patients like myself. I noticed that nearly everyone had a green sticker on their name tag and inquired why (I test positive for MRSA colonization of the nares, so I am always on iso precautions to begin with) and found out that the sticker (green that year) means they had their flu shot that is "required" by admin. If you don't get the flu shot you must wear a mask when in direct contact with patients. There were a few nurses or therapists who chose not to vaccinate and wore the mask instead, and they didn't mind the mask. I think it just became second nature to them after a couple weeks.
    I myself get the flu shot every year anyways b/c of my history of asthma and reduced lung capacity from scoliosis, and also b/c I have a genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (type 3 - hypermobility). I have never gotten sick from the flu shot (thankfully), but I have also never gotten the flu and I rarely get colds (I usually get full blown pneumonia before I show signs of a "cold").
    I personally think that hospitals should make the flu shot optional, even if the state "requires" the shot for HCP's. I believe that not everyone should be forced into the shot just because it is easier for the hospital (or whatever!) and that the mask is a more than viable alternative for those who choose for religious, health or other reasons not to be vaccinated on a yearly basis.
  11. 0
    I just got a call in from our office about someone who had to get the vaccine over wearing a mask. Personally, flu shots never made a difference. I got sick when I wasn't taking care of my body. Once I went gluten free (I'm a Celiac), exercised, and ate healthier foods and was took preventative measures when I started to feel sick, then the awful colds, flus, and sore throats pretty much went away. I got a flu shot last year so I couldn't say for sure if that actually made a difference.


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