The flu shot making people sick - page 8

It's not my intention to start a debate on the flu shot, but I'm afraid it's going to happen in this thread. Oh well, here we go.... I work in the ER. About 6 nurses were talking last evening... Read More

  1. Visit  Elvish profile page
    0
    Quote from IGiveTheShots
    Thank you Elvish. Its very hard to keep up with this thread and actually put thought into some of my responses in between managing my clinic. Life is so hard.
    I wasn't trying to be nitpicky; I was pretty sure of what you meant. It was more a clarification for other readers, especially lurkers who may or may not be nurses.
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  3. Visit  tnbutterfly profile page
    1
    Please try to keep in mind the topic of this post......... the fear of some nurses that the flu shot makes them sick.

    The OP's first sentence states what she hopes the thread turns into.

    It's not my intention to start a debate on the flu shot, but I'm afraid it's going to happen in this thread.
    After her story about what happened in her hospital, she again states

    I don't want a debate about someone's right to refuse the flu shot; however, I was stunned by the level of ignorance by these nurses. There are reasons to not get the shot, but saying "the shot makes me sick" is not one of them.
    Several posts have gone off-topic and have even been a bit heated. You are free to disagree with anyone, but please keep your comments polite and constructive and ON TOPIC. Otherwise the thread will be closed.

    Thanks for your cooperation.

    tnbutterfly
    admin
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Oct 18, '12
    Esme12 likes this.
  4. Visit  fulltrop profile page
    2
    Quote from emilydalton89
    I was told by my Doctor that I could possibly have "mild" flu symptoms for a few days after the flu shot.
    Quote from RNsRWe
    Fever and body aches are "mild flu-like symptoms", but of course does NOT mean you've got a mild case of the flu. Or got "sick" from the vaccine; rather, they're normal reactions TO the vaccine.
    Is that not the textbook definition of "getting sick"? Seriously this is medical double-speak. "No you won't get influenza" they say but they fail to complete their sentence: "you may experience cold-like symptoms brought about by the vaccine". Apparently there is a difference between "getting sick" and "experiencing cold-like symptoms". Seriously, hair splitting on such an epic scale could be used to jump start a dormant nuclear reactor. When you're a patient there is no difference between "getting sick" and "experiencing cold-like symptoms". I get it there may be people doing their PhDs in Epidemiology who would disagree with me on academic grounds but they're not the people asking "Will the flu shot make me sick?" and the academic answer is seriously misleading to members of the general public.

    I get annoyed when people say the flu shot won't make you sick because no one is saying the flu shot will give you influenza and the doctors damn well know this. What people are asking is "will I get a cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, headache, cough, congestion, etc?" and the answer to this question is "possibly, depends upon the person". That's what people mean when they ask 'Will I get sick?" and instead of answering the question honestly, hairs are split about the definition of the word "sick" and this finely nuanced understanding is never explained to Joe Average on the street when he complains about a runny nose and cough after the flu shot. He's just told his symptoms have nothing to do with the flu shot, which is potentially a blatant lie.

    If you look up the side effects of the flu shot, it states in black and white that cold-like symptoms may be experienced. Scientific fact. But instead people persist in lying by omission "I'll tell you that the flu shot won't make you sick (i.e. give you influenza), but I won't tell you about the cold-like symptoms. By the way, here's a information card for you to read at home that describes a variety of possible cold-like symptoms that I just said you'd never were at risk of experiencing 5 seconds ago. Have a nice day."

    The communication on this really needs to be improved. I get it that not everyone will experience those side effects but some people do. People need to be given clear information so they can make a proper informed choice.
    Last edit by fulltrop on May 30, '13
    lunar79 and wooh like this.
  5. Visit  LisaNicolePN profile page
    1
    Flu shots are mandatory in my place of work. When h1n1 first came out, I was in school, and didn't get the vaccine immediately. I contracted H1N1, and missed 3 weeks of school. The flu was the most miserable I've ever felt. Now, I do everything within my power to avoid the flu, vaccines included! A sore arm vs the flu... No question
    carolinapooh likes this.
  6. Visit  LisaNicolePN profile page
    1
    Side note: I was fortunate that they allowed me to continue in school since I missed 4 clinical days d/t H1N1...
    carolinapooh likes this.
  7. Visit  carolinapooh profile page
    0
    The flu-like symptoms are a side effect of your body mounting its antibody-building response. It is NOT the flu, nor is it a cold.

    The stem cells that mature into the components of your immune system are made in your bone marrow, and long and broad bones (think pelvis, femur, and tibia/fibula) are the largest receptacles of bone marrow in your body. When stem cell production is kicked into high gear (which is what a vaccine causes), these bones ache from the sudden overproduction of these cells - hence the body aches. An increase in B-cell production induces the histamine response - hence the runny nose.

    It's the same principle behind why Neupogen/Neulasta make patients feel crappy and flu-ey: their long and broad bones' marrow has been kicked into overdrive.

    It's also why you get achy when you DO get sick: the body has sent out a call for more infection fighters - and they all come from your bone marrow. It's where that high white count comes from.

    FLU SHOTS DON'T MAKE YOU SICK. They can't (I'm not talking about live FluMist) - they're a dead vaccine. It's the body's natural response to a vaccine.

    You're not sick. Your body is creating its immunity memory so you DON'T get sick in the future.
  8. Visit  wooh profile page
    1
    I think the point was whether you're sick or you just feel sick from the sick-like symptoms, either way, you feel sick.

    To the average person, what difference does it make whether you're sick or you merely feel sick?
    morte likes this.
  9. Visit  fulltrop profile page
    3
    Quote from carolinapooh
    The flu-like symptoms are a side effect of your body mounting its antibody-building response. It is NOT the flu, nor is it a cold.

    The stem cells that mature into the components of your immune system are made in your bone marrow, and long and broad bones (think pelvis, femur, and tibia/fibula) are the largest receptacles of bone marrow in your body. When stem cell production is kicked into high gear (which is what a vaccine causes), these bones ache from the sudden overproduction of these cells - hence the body aches. An increase in B-cell production induces the histamine response - hence the runny nose.

    It's the same principle behind why Neupogen/Neulasta make patients feel crappy and flu-ey: their long and broad bones' marrow has been kicked into overdrive.

    It's also why you get achy when you DO get sick: the body has sent out a call for more infection fighters - and they all come from your bone marrow. It's where that high white count comes from.

    FLU SHOTS DON'T MAKE YOU SICK. They can't (I'm not talking about live FluMist) - they're a dead vaccine. It's the body's natural response to a vaccine.

    You're not sick. Your body is creating its immunity memory so you DON'T get sick in the future.
    You're engaging in the same misleading communication that I was pointing out earlier. I understand the distinction you're drawing in terms of how and why the body reacts a certain way. I get there is a scientific difference between your body reacting to a vaccine and your body reacting to a pathogen. However this distinction belongs in the class room or research lab.

    It is misleading to the point of deceptive to tell members of the public the flu shot "won't make you sick" and then hide the fact that the vaccine may cause "(simulated) cold-like symptoms". This is not communcating accurate information, it's splitting hairs over the definition of "sick". Is this finely nuanced definition ever properly explained to the public? No, it isn't.

    As a doctor, nurse or researcher treating a patient, this finely tuned definition of "sick" is important because it relates to the root cause of the symptoms. As a member of the public, the difference is purely academic and of no relevance. And to insist that there is a difference when communicating to the public results in misleading information being disseminated into the public domain. This is something I find inexcusable. Members of the public don't understand, and shouldn't need to understand, a medical researcher's definition of the word "sick".

    To a member of the public whether their runny nose, cough and headache was caused by a virus or caused by a reaction to a dead vaccine makes no difference. To a member of the public the bottom line is "I may feel crap after a flu shot and there is a causal link between the cold-like symptoms I may experience and the vaccine I was administered with. I don't give a toss if the symptoms meet the medical dictionary's definition of the word 'sick'." So when people complain about a runny nose or cough after a flu shot, it is a blatant lie to claim that the two events are not related when scientific data clearly states that those symptoms are a possible reaction to the vaccine. In fact, you've stated so yourself that such a reaction is possible. "You're not sick!" is the medical equivalent of the NRA's "guns don't kill people". Arrant nonsense unless you're talking in academic terms.

    But instead of acknowledging that a flu shot might make you feel crap and experience cold-like symptoms, a whole lot of intellectual dishonesty is engaged in. Hairs are split over what "sick" means. "You're not sick because your body is reacting to the vaccine. If you were sick, your symptoms would be caused by a pathogen". That's double dutch and it's nonsense.

    I don't know why, but some people find this concept incredibly difficult to grasp and they persist peddling disinformation and jusfifying it by splitting hairs over the word "sick'. I don't know why that is. My best guess for the disinformation is that it's public policy that vaccinating against the flu is a good thing and that everyone should get the shot... so if a little disinformation is spread in order to maximise the number of people who volunteer for innoculation then what's the big deal? Can't let anyone think the flu shot might give them cold-like symptoms because then maybe they won't get the shot and that would undermine public policy. So when Joe Average says the flu shot gave him a runny nose, tell him he's dreaming even though we know the two events are probably related. Joe Average is too stupid to make an informed choice by himself and needs people who are better educated than himself to do it for him.

    I'm not against the flu shot per se, but the information on the flu shot needs to improve so people can make informed choices based upon accurate and complete information. Public policy objectives shouldn't trump the right the public have to be given the full story before making a choice.
    Last edit by fulltrop on May 31, '13
    lunar79, wooh, and morte like this.
  10. Visit  morte profile page
    1
    and I would be taking "sick time". if I had these symptoms.....so what DO we call it?
    wooh likes this.
  11. Visit  MunoRN profile page
    0
    Quote from fulltrop
    You're engaging in the same misleading communication that I was pointing out earlier. I understand the distinction you're drawing in terms of how and why the body reacts a certain way. I get there is a scientific difference between your body reacting to a vaccine and your body reacting to a pathogen. However this distinction belongs in the class room or research lab.

    It is misleading to the point of deceptive to tell members of the public the flu shot "won't make you sick" and then hide the fact that the vaccine may cause "(simulated) cold-like symptoms". This is not communcating accurate information, it's splitting hairs over the definition of "sick". Is this finely nuanced definition ever properly explained to the public? No, it isn't.

    As a doctor, nurse or researcher treating a patient, this finely tuned definition of "sick" is important because it relates to the root cause of the symptoms. As a member of the public, the difference is purely academic and of no relevance. And to insist that there is a difference when communicating to the public results in misleading information being disseminated into the public domain. This is something I find inexcusable. Members of the public don't understand, and shouldn't need to understand, a medical researcher's definition of the word "sick".

    To a member of the public whether their runny nose, cough and headache was caused by a virus or caused by a reaction to a dead vaccine makes no difference. To a member of the public the bottom line is "I may feel crap after a flu shot and there is a causal link between the cold-like symptoms I may experience and the vaccine I was administered with. I don't give a toss if the symptoms meet the medical dictionary's definition of the word 'sick'." So when people complain about a runny nose or cough after a flu shot, it is a blatant lie to claim that the two events are not related when scientific data clearly states that those symptoms are a possible reaction to the vaccine. In fact, you've stated so yourself that such a reaction is possible. "You're not sick!" is the medical equivalent of the NRA's "guns don't kill people". Arrant nonsense unless you're talking in academic terms.

    But instead of acknowledging that a flu shot might make you feel crap and experience cold-like symptoms, a whole lot of intellectual dishonesty is engaged in. Hairs are split over what "sick" means. "You're not sick because your body is reacting to the vaccine. If you were sick, your symptoms would be caused by a pathogen". That's double dutch and it's nonsense.

    I don't know why, but some people find this concept incredibly difficult to grasp and they persist peddling disinformation and jusfifying it by splitting hairs over the word "sick'. I don't know why that is. My best guess for the disinformation is that it's public policy that vaccinating against the flu is a good thing and that everyone should get the shot... so if a little disinformation is spread in order to maximise the number of people who volunteer for innoculation then what's the big deal? Can't let anyone think the flu shot might give them cold-like symptoms because then maybe they won't get the shot and that would undermine public policy. So when Joe Average says the flu shot gave him a runny nose, tell him he's dreaming even though we know the two events are probably related. Joe Average is too stupid to make an informed choice by himself and needs people who are better educated than himself to do it for him.

    I'm not against the flu shot per se, but the information on the flu shot needs to improve so people can make informed choices based upon accurate and complete information. Public policy objectives shouldn't trump the right the public have to be given the full story before making a choice.
    I think most people understand that the purpose of an immunization is essentially to give your immune system a workout using a homeopathic trigger, if that's not the case then you're correct, there should be more education.

    I think you're confusing the claim that a flu shot won't give you the flu with the idea that it wont' make you 'sick'. There is a huge difference between flu "sick" and the symptoms associated with a immunization triggered immune response.

    If influenza was nothing more than a runny nose and other cold like symptoms then it wouldn't be responsible for 40,000 deaths a year in the US. A runny nose and death are two very different effects of being "sick". So you're correct, any time someone says the flu vaccine doesn't make you "sick", it should be clarified with; "it can give you cold-like symptoms, but not potentially fatal influenza".
  12. Visit  fulltrop profile page
    1
    Quote from MunoRN
    I think most people understand that the purpose of an immunization is essentially to give your immune system a workout using a homeopathic trigger, if that's not the case then you're correct, there should be more education.

    I think you're confusing the claim that a flu shot won't give you the flu with the idea that it wont' make you 'sick'. There is a huge difference between flu "sick" and the symptoms associated with a immunization triggered immune response.

    If influenza was nothing more than a runny nose and other cold like symptoms then it wouldn't be responsible for 40,000 deaths a year in the US. A runny nose and death are two very different effects of being "sick". So you're correct, any time someone says the flu vaccine doesn't make you "sick", it should be clarified with; "it can give you cold-like symptoms, but not potentially fatal influenza".
    I agree with everything you've said aside from your statement that I am confusing influenza with cold-like symptoms. As I stated in my original post, the flu shot does not give you influenza and as carolinepooh pointed out, it does not give you a "cold" either. The point you are making is too finely nuanced to be made in the public domain: seriously, you expect people to understand the difference between headache/congestion/cough symptoms caused by a a virus vs a triggered immune response? From the perspective of the patient, there is no difference because the symptoms are equally real and impactful. The difference only exists in the minds of doctors and nurses, because they've got the job of treating people. Obviously you'd treat someone with a virus a lot differently than someone with an immune response that was triggered. But I'm not talking about administering medical treatment. I'm talking about communicating to the public in plain and simple English that doesn't split hairs or hide behind grammatical ambiguities.

    The flu shot may give you symptoms analoguous to the common cold. To me, and 99% of the human race who aren't a doctor or nurse, that means the flu shot may make me sick. You can't expect someone who hasn't gone to med school to comprehend your definition of the word sick. If you do, you're deliberately misleading that person. The same way chemotherapy makes someone sick: it's your body's reaction to the treatment that has been administered. In both cases, the view is that the short term discomfort is outweighed by the longer term benefits. But no one says chemotherapy doesn't make you sick, do they?

    No one is saying influenza isn't a serious virus that can kill. I'm not saying flu shots shouldn't be given. I'm saying that the communication on this has not been clear. The only side effect people are told about is the sore arm (which is never an issue for me). Most people get the flu shot not because they think they'll get influenza but because they think it'll minimise or eliminate their sick days from the common cold. They think the flu shot will give them protection against the cold but they aren't told about the cold-like symptoms they may experience whilst their body acclimatises to the vaccine.

    FWIW I got the flu shot recently and have done so in the past. I was in perfect health when I got the flu shot and a week later, I developed a mild runny nose, cough, congestion, headache and fatigue. The reaction is mild but things still got bad enough that I had to work from home on Friday. Which is kind of ironic given the whole reason my employer gave me a free flu shot was to minimise sick days!

    I did some research on the government website which said they administer a dead vaccine which may cause mild flu-like symptoms. Despite admitting this, the government website still says the vaccine "won't make me sick" which is, I believe, pure medical hair splitting. When I received my shot, the nurse asked me if I knew the side effects and when I asked her to clarify them for me the only thing she mentioned was a sore arm.

    I've good reason to believe that if I didn't have the flu shot, I wouldn't be experiencing the symptoms I am now and wouldn't have had to take time off work. My employer, like most companies out there, paid money to give me a free flu shot with the sole intention of minimising employee sick days yet I fell sick due to the shot?

    Which means that if people had accurate information, you'd probably find that most employers would not give their employees a free flu shot because it may increase sick days + fewer people would want the shot because all they want is protection from the common cold.

    Now... is the risk of influenza so serious that people should get the shot anyway? Happy to have that discussion but let's make sure everyone on the same page. Make sure everyone knows that the flu shot may give them cold like symptoms so they're aware that until their body adjusts to the shot, the flu shot actually increases their likelihood of falling sick and taking time off work.

    Once we have that common understanding, people can make informed choices about taking an influenza shot. Perhaps the greater good does outweight the short term inconvenience? Hell, if influenza that big a risk, maybe we should legislate to make the shots mandatory? But we can't have that discussion if people are told half-truths about how their body will react to the flu shot.

    I want people to stop saying the flu shot "won't make you sick" because it is inaccurate and misleading. People need to understand things properly. Happy to say the following:

    "The flu shot will not give you influenza or a cold. You may however experience a sore arm, runny nose, congestion, headache, fatigue and other cold-like symptoms whilst your body acclimatises itself to the vaccine. This is a natural possible reaction to the vaccine and is not the result of an infection. This acclimatisation process takes on average 2 weeks and thereafter will provide increased protection against influenza and the common cold viruses."

    There. Simple. Truthful. No hair splitting over the word "sick". People understand exactly what the score is. Employers have a true understanding of what they are getting when they use shareholder money to selectively fund public health initiatives that are (falsely?) claimed to minimise employee down time.
    Last edit by fulltrop on May 31, '13
    lunar79 likes this.
  13. Visit  MunoRN profile page
    1
    I totally agree, the flu shot can make you feel sick. There are all different kinds of "sick" however, and many argue that there is no point in getting vaccinated if it makes them feel sick anyway; they took the shot to avoid getting sick but still got sick. They aren't really interchangable, one is a sickness that can be annoying, another leads to death fairly frequently.
    psu_213 likes this.


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