(Warning! Today I’m sharing a personal opinion for which I don’t expect total agreement. But I’m steadfast in my belief. I have science behind me. I’m girded for argument… bring it on!)
When I began my patient empowerment work in 2005, I had little or no understanding of the benefits of getting a flu shot except that – maybe – it would protect me from getting the flu. But I didn’t feel like I was at risk; I lived alone, I worked from home, my kids were no longer in school (where flu runs rampant!), and I was still relatively young. I’ve always hated getting shots, so why should I bother?
It was my right to say NO flu shot for me! And I didn’t get one.
In 2007, I became the patient empowerment expert for About.com, writing hundreds of articles and blog posts each year to teach patients how to become smart patients. My work required a great deal of research into every topic imaginable as it regarded taking responsibility for our healthcare, and making wise choices for ourselves and our loved ones.
Then 2009 rolled around and we began hearing about swine flu… THAT was when I began to learn more about the real need for flu vaccines, their history, how they work, the myths generated by the fearful and conspiracy theorists each year, and – yes – the merits of flu shots.
Since 2009, I have gotten my flu shot every fall. I’ve decided I’m unwilling to take any chances.
Take chances? For what? (you might ask) My circumstances haven’t changed much since 2009 in terms of possible exposure, so why would I be any more concerned today than I was before then?