Tuesday, November 23, 2010

more campfire chatter - flu shots

I haven't yet had an opportunity to sit down and write my post about how I handled the situation with the kids two weeks ago. I've taken this week off of work and have been so busy trying to paint and clean windows and finish getting the house unpacked. Mostly for my family's enjoyment, but also, because my mother and Jim are driving up for Thanksgiving and our house looks like the set for Sanford & Sons.

Two months in to it, and our garage is still full of boxes. But we don't want to put things away until we get things the way that we want them and there is still so much to do, I'm extremely thankful I've got three weeks worth of vacation to use up between now and the end of the year. Maybe I'll finally find the box that holds the children's winter coats.

While we're waiting, I've got several other questions for you that I'll post today, as I've got time.

My first question...

Our children are all home sick today with what I think might be the flu. While we vaccinate our children (and have since birth), we've never vaccinated them for the flu because it seems like there are so many different strains, I really wonder whether or not it was worth their (or mine) pain and suffering dragging FOUR children in for a needle.

Do you get a flu shot?

Do you get a flu shot for your children?

And if your children are running moderate temperatures and coughing like they've got the plague, and you opt to keep them home from school, how difficult is it for you to fight the temptation to put their feverish little bodies in clothes and take them to school, when seconds after you call the attendance line to tell the school that your children will be absent, they perk up and start running around the house like it's Christmas morning?


  1. I recommend the FLU MIST.

    My poor children got the FLU SHOT two years ago and you would think they open heart surgery. It was the nurse that gave them the shot that really ignited the fear storm, but they never forgot it.

    The next year we got the nasal spray vaccine and so far so good!

  2. Flu shots... I'm really inconsistent on this. My oldest (13) never gets them... because her birthday is in the summer, and so her well-checks are in the summer and she's so rarely sick that we just don't get down to the pediatrician to get them. My other 2 (almost 9 and 6) usually do, because they have November and December birthdays and we do their well-checks about now (oops, time to call to schedule this year's) and so we do the flu shot when we are there. For me... I usually do it. But I haven't yet this year. Maybe because they are so easy to find this year it doens't seem to be any rush. LOL.
    I know what you mean about keeping kids home. I'm pretty strict and will only let them stay home if they have a fever or had a fever last night or are throwing up or coughing up a lung. So that cuts down a bit on wanting to send them mid-day, but I still get the case where someone had a fever the night before so I kept them home as a precaution and they are absolutely and totally fine and bored stiff. But even the school says don't send them if they've had a fever in the last 24 hours.

  3. I do get flu shots for my kids and here is why:

    I had the flu...the REAL flu. So many people THINK they had/have the flu when really it is just a bad cold or maybe bronchitis, etc. When you have the flu, you KNOW you have the flu. You are sick like you have never been sick in your life. Your body hurts like you have been hit by a mac truck, you have a horrible fever, chills, etc. When I had the flu, I had honestly never felt so bad in my entire life. (not with strep throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, etc..I have had ALL those) I was SICK. AND, I had the flu shot too...and STILL got the flu.

    BUT, I decided right then and there that there was NO WAY I ever wanted my kids to feel like that or risk it developing in to something worse, so, they will ALWAYS get the flu shot. Yes, they may still get the flu because there are a lot of strains out there. Think of it this way, you do everything you can to prevent your kids from harm. Flu shots PREVENT much more illness/harm than the very small miniscule amount of illness they "may" cause.

    Yes, we'll get the flu shot. Got the swine flu shot too.

    I work at a hospital so I am required by my job to get it anyway. I am surrounded by medical folks who get their own kids the flu shot. For me, that coupled with I never want my kids to feel as bad as I did, my kids WILL get the flu shot.

  4. 1: No flu shoot here! It's not the same thing as tetanos or other shots. Flu shot only reduce the risks... Still i don't consider flu too bad to get vaccinated.
    2: Sick child doesn't have anything to do at shcool, it's better keep them home so they can rest and not contaminate other kids. The people at your school seems weird to act this way.... LOL. One day off of school is not a big issue, why do they do that??

  5. interestingly enough, just got this info through work today. more about vaccines in general.


  6. At our kids' school, they can return at any point in the day. I've taken them back many times partway through the day. (Though, they do have to be fever-free and barfing-free for 24 hours. Sometimes our kids stay home an extra day after being sick-- just in case-- and midmorning I realize they are fine to go back.)

    Anyway, good luck!

  7. No, I don't get flu shots and I would never get them for my children. I'm not much of a believer in those.
    When my kids stayed home because of sickness, they pretty much had to stay in bed but I imagine with 4 little ones it would be hard to keep them there. At least they're home and not infecting other children. (I'd probably plop them in front of the tv all day to help keep them quiet so they can heal.)

  8. 7 years ago I got the flu. I thought I might be dying, it was so horrible. I've gotten the flu shot every year since then. My two year old got the shot last year and this year. If 30 seconds of crying even has a chance of helping him not go through the awfulness of the flu, it's worth it to me. Hope your's feel better soon!

  9. I always get a flu shot; I always make my children get theirs too.

    When I had my youngest I had gotten the flu; they could not reduce my temp so had to induce me early. It was a whole mess. Since then, I always make sure to be vaccinated.

    Last year was tricky with the swine flu plus the regular, but I still made everyone do them all!

    Also I grew up in a dr.'s house - we all, always got flu shots (my dad had to so we all had to!)

    Anyway there's been a bad cold around that starts with a day or two of fever. so you might have that anyway, not the flu at all. We are just getting over it. It really ranged in how bad it was - I hardly got sick from it, but my husband (hmm . . . who never gets flu shots himself!) got knocked DOWN by this thing.

  10. Our pediatrician is a strong supporter of the flu shot. Our daughter has gotten it every year (3 and counting) if for no other reason than she is like her mama--cranky when sick. Plus i figure if she stays healthy, I'm more likely to stay healthy. I try to get a flu shot each year to increase the odds that we aren't both sick at the same time, but am not always successful at remembering.

  11. We've always vaccinated. With the twins premature status they were always at high risk for any respiratory infection. The good news is they are now old enough for the flu mist instead of the shots.

  12. We started getting our daughter the flu vaccine when she was ten and had been diagnosed with asthma. My doctor gets on me pretty hard to be vaccinated myself because I've been his patient for 19 years and he knows how easily I get sick. My husband is vaccinated because it is always free at work. Otherwise, he'd rather suffer the flu than pay for the shot. For our son, we never pushed the issue but once he was hit with a horrible case of the flu at age 15 he now makes sure he gets it. Of course as a Marine, he has no choice. They give those marines shots every time they turn around.

    As for taking your kids to school: please don't. Perhaps your kids were feeling better because the Tylenol or Motrin kicked in (I know you didn't mention if you'd been dosing them,but). It is a worry for teachers to be sick when kids come to school with coughs, fever, etc. It's hard on them to find substitutes and it's hard on the kids for their continutity to be broken when their teacher is out with the flu.
    Our school policy is that a child must be fever free WITHOUT THE AID OF TYLENOL for 24 hours before they return to school. I've always tried to follow that.
    Also, if your kids go to school, they are really pushing themselves beyond what their sickness should allow and they could easily get worn down and heal more slowly.

    I remember the days when a sick child really put a kink in my plans so I understand your question, but I think you asked for opinions so that is mine.

  13. Both my kids (5 and 3) get flu shots. Well actually they get flu mists now... saves us the stress of a needle! No reactions and no flu for either ever.

  14. After my son and I both came down with the flu when he was small - I've done the flu shot thing. Because the real flu is a miserable thing. But with the whole H1N1 thing - I hesitated - simply because they seemed to rush that one to market. So this year we've skipped it - as it was included in the standard shot. Hubby got one - and I haven't noticed any adverse affects - so maybe next year we'll all get one.

    As for the sickly children - until they find out they are staying home. It's universal. But as long as they have a fever they are not supposed to be in school. But sometimes it's a judgment call. There were times when I sent him - convinced he was fine - and he wasn't. But there were plenty of times I sent him and he was fine.

  15. Yes, I get a flu shot every year, and yes, I get both my kids the flu shot. I believe it helps, but is not a cure-all for the flu. The two times I did not get the shot, I got the flu, it was awful.

    As for kids a illness - I am home today with a well child, who spent the past 12 hours emptying her stomach all over her bed, my bed, the bathroom and a few other lucky spaces. And this morning she is fine. Laundry at 2am is a true sign of the joys of parenting.

    Although my duo are ages 2 & 5, they have been in preschool long enough for me to come to the realization that most sick days with kids are really well days at home recovering after a day or night of sickness. Pink eye - what a crappy 2-3 days of homebound, don't touch, eyedrops hell. They may seem well, but giving their bodies one more day at home to fully recover, AND to keep them away from others is just a good course of action.

    I consider sick days like flu shots and vaccines - it is all about doing our part to keep my kids healthy and try to minimize passing around our germs.

    The few times I have given my kid tylenol and pushed her of to school hoping for the best it was a disaster.

  16. I got my family vaccinated with the flu shot once and we all ended up in the hospital for several days. All of us. Like as in, my entire family.

    We never get the flu shot. (Actually, I take that back, my mom sometimes sneaks my kids to get it, but I don't.)

    We live above the Arctic Circle. We're gonna get colds, and flu's, etc. And you never know which strain you get, so why bother. Plus, being in the hospital in the room next to your kid is NO FUN.

    My oldest wouldn't miss school if I paid him to. I have to pull the "I'm the mom so you're staying home" card when he's sick. (Really sick) My youngest; I just tell her that if she's not ACTING sick I'd rather just call the office and tell them she'll be LATE, rather than absent! The school is 2 minutes away! She acts very sick when she's sick. :)

  17. Sanford and Sons - LOL.

    If your kids are running around it's not the flu. If they had the flu they'd be laying around like they are half dead. After observing my daughter in this condition when she was 3, and laying awake all night listening to her maon "my hips, my hips" (the flu is painful, did you know that? hurts your back and legs and hips) that was the last year we didn't all get a flu shot (which they've now combined all the strains in one shot).

    Of course, like you, we just moved out of state so I don't have a pedi lined up and no, we haven't gotten the shot yet (Usually we do FluMIst) - thanks for the reminder!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  18. I always, always get the whole family flu shots. While we always have our share of winter illnesses, we have managed to avoid a serious flu (especially important for my high-risk guy). I personally don't believe there are any downsides.

    And hey, look on the bright side: if the kids are running around after school starts, it's unlikely they actually have influenza! We definitely see the miraculous recovery once absence calls have been made, which amazes me as the kids are too young to be working the system purposely!

  19. No flu shots here. They make the vaccine from last year's flu strain, so how does that protect anyone from what goes around this year? I have vaccinated my children for the most part, but find this to to be more hindrance than help.

  20. We do not get flu shots. We've had everything except Ebola, so I laugh at flu. Our immune systems are rocking and this year we've only missed one day for vomit. I was in Europe, so I have no idea what poor poor Greg did.

    I only keep kids out for vomit and fever. That is it. They go to school with coughs and boogers. That's where they got it anyway

  21. YES!!! Flu shots all around (3 kids). My oldest (4) and twin girl (2) got the FluMist and had NO problem with it. So easy---no needle. My twin boy (2) got the shot because he's had issues with wheezing in the past. But they had a wellness check and he just got it along with all of the other shots :( Have you had the REAL flu as an adult? It's AWFUL. Worse than awful. Not moderate temps and a cough. Horrible temp and body aches that make you wish you could curl up somewhere for about a week. I am a strong proponent of the flu shot. And my husband works in a hospital with critically ill patients so he has to get one. Personally, i say do it! Also, I a firm believer in bribery. As in, after we get the shot/mist and you are brave, we will get a smoothie. Which is just what we did.


  22. I had never gotten a flu shot until I started working with college students. Having a few hundred students pass by your desk during cold and flu season is a surefire way to get sick. So for the past 3 years I have gotten a flu shot and still managed to get sick EVERY single year. (I did avoid H1N1 though) This year I'm in a new office space and have no plans to get the shot since I don't have the exposure I did in my old set up. My boys got the flu shot their first cold & flu season, mostly because we were still in the doc office every three months and since they were in daycare we figured it couldn't hurt anything. They got it last year because again we were in the doc office and they had both the flu and H1N1 shots. They are prone to ear infections so I'm leaning towards doing it again this year for them. They haven't had an ear infection in months and I hate to tempt fate and not do it and then have it come back and bite me in the you know what later.
    I will share with you the same advice my pedi gave me....if kids go to daycare or school, they should get the flu shot, especially if it is the first time they have had such prolonged exposure to other kids. I know your kids did some preschool, but I would still get it for them just in case, especially since they are in a new school and in a totally different climate than what they are used to.

    As for going to school after already calling in....i would seriously consider it, but I would bet the school wouldn't let you do it if you already made the call.

  23. So sorry the kids are sick.
    We have always gotten our kids vaccinated for the flu. Last year we did NOT get the extra for the swine flu, but now it is covered in this year's vaccine.
    Check with your doctors office~ now they give the vaccine as a mist through the nose and there are no needles!
    Last year my husband was the only one in our family NOT to get the flu vaccine and he was the only one in our family who got a horrible case of the flu with vomitiing and the works. I'm a believer!

  24. I used to think "the flu" was a bad cold. Then, one fateful day in 2007, (my birthday no less) I became its victim. It was the most horrible of all horrible viruses and I am not the type to be dragged down by the sniffles. It knocked me off my feet and out of work for an entire week. To add insult to injury, the nurse I went to see had to stick a swab up into my sinuses to "diagnose" me. It was hell.

    Needless to say, from then on I remembered to get my flu shot. We had our firstborn in May of '09 and he received his second such shot last month. Well worth it in my book, and our insurance covers it at 100% as preventative care.

  25. YES! Get it! For yourself and your children. When dealing with my Dad's illness as you know we were concerned for his health and wanted him to remain with us for as long as possible. Each of us took any and all precautionary measures we could to prevent any type of disease from transpiring to him.

    Since that time I have always tried to be considerate of what other families are going through. Not only to prevent my family from disease but also not to pass it on to others who may be dealing with a severe illness.

    We are an amazing country full of so much information to fight disease. Personally, I think it's irresponsible for those who don't inoculate. Marg.

    PS I forgot to sign the last one at 8:40. (It was me.) . ;-)

    Perhaps you've heard me but at times the boys will mouth off and ask why? It started w/James...my response: "because I carried you for 9 months and had long intense labor pains for over 36 hours! That's why!" It's worked so far. ;-)

    You and Charlie have been doing a great job Jen. I think I've told you this before but you won't know if what you've done the right thing until they are at least 40! Luckily with one, I'm 1/2 way there and so-far-so good. (If I could just find a nice catholic girl that I could get along with for him!!) ;-)

  26. I usually get a flu shot because "Mom's can't get sick!"

    Amanda got one last year b/c of her medical trauma but none of the other kids have had them in a couple of years.

  27. oh, for the record, a doctor's appt. or a call to the attendance line are miraculous cures.

  28. Do the triplets have any lingering asthma-like issues from the prematurity? If they have any tendency to have respiratory problems when sick, then it's a good idea to vaccinate them and the rest of the family members in contact with them (you, your husband, and Henry). The biggest danger from the flu is picking up pneumonia, and an inflamed respiratory system makes that more likely.

    Other than that, it depends how much you want to avoid having small children home sick for a week or more.

  29. I have always gotten the flu shot. When I was younger I use to get 2 some years (not sure why but this happened about 3 times). The only one I have not gotten was the h1n1 however it was in this years shot along with 2 other strains and so I received it then. I have poor lungs and I am constantly around young children and older people and so it is always advised that I get it, especially with my lungs. I had a cold last week and this past weekend I was doing breathing treatments every 2-3 hours.

    When I have children I plan on delaying vaccines a few months (like 6) but then giving them every shot they can receive including the flu shot. After a few years they will learn that the shot is inevitable and for me when that switch in my mind went off the crying and screaming stopped. Since then shots have been no big deal.

    Also being in school I understand that feeling of being sick or not. For me I take the morning and lay in bed and be sick but the moment that I perk up, I go to school. I would see if your children's school would let them be sick in the morning and just take them in late when they feel better. Also I would check the rule on being absent and how long they have to be there for it to actually count. Usually it is 1/2 of the day/class. So if you bring them in before the day is 1/2 over they should be counted as there, but if they still feel crummy after 1/2 of the day has passed, just keep them home.


  30. We've done flu shots for several years, because we had preemie triplets born in the winter in the family (how I found your blog) and we were all care takers that first year. And that was the year the shot was miss - in that it didn't cover the strain that became the primary infector that year, and so we all go the flu anyway.

    Now the triplets are 3 and I have the youngest of the cousins at 2.

    I don't think we'll get them forever, but maybe one more year. I think we'll see what this year's flu season looks like, and make a decision going forward.

    I always say, "I'm not against vacinations. I am against the flu." And that is true for me. Also, prior to the h1n1 ruckus, they mostly recommended them for senior citizens and children under 5and their care takers . . . last year we all got h1n1 and lived (didn't get the shots in time), so . . .there you go.

    I think it's personal and goes in part to how strong your kid's immune systems are and how willing you are to deal with the flu.


  31. I've gotten a flu shot for years and have my kids get the too. I realize it does not protect from every strain of the flu, but I'll take whatever protection is offered. If there is a way I can avoid miserable, sick kids or being sick myself I am going to do it.

  32. Ahaha that's right influenza = Christmas Morning!! :) I have no choice, I am forced into flu shot-age. Due to those folks over in hospital land who would rather not be infected by me. Nevertheless I am an advocate of the flu shot, especially for folks who could die from the flu, such as asthmatics, elderly folks, and the ones who surround them. Honestly? Your kids would probably be okay without the flu shot if they have healthy little immune systems and no underlying conditions (asthma, immunocompromise), but it does usually save them (and you) a little misery in the long run. The predicting and strain building of the vaccine (which is actually done in a building 200 feet from where I'm sitting almost every year) is pretty decent. Sure we miss a strain or two some years!

    I know I'm going to get in TONS of trouble from your other readers for saying this, but honestly, vaccines are relatively safe. There is no reliable tie to autism (the scientist who claimed this was found to have forged his data = cardinal sin of research). There are pockets of recurring infections, measles to name one, in my area because of the new movement not to vaccinate, so as we lose our "herd immunity" these diseases will and are coming back. It's not surprising it has become easier to choose not to vaccinate when you don't have to stare down the plague of small pox every summer where half the neighborhood dies. We have lost our fear of diseases many of us have never seen (my generation to be sure!). But the bugs have proven to be smarter than us at times...and so I'm a fan of vaccination. If not for the herd, than at least to protect my own kids and myself who won't be protected because of the choices of others.

  33. I have never given my kids flu shots. Maybe its not a good enough reason, but I figure that their immune system has to build up somehow.

  34. I haven't had a flu shot in several years. I did get one the fall after I miscarried but before we got pregnant again.

    My Dd, now 3, has never had a flu shot. She won't be getting one this year either.

  35. We do not get the flu shot and we have not gotten for our son. Our Pediatrician gave me the soap box lecture and I told him if they make it mandatory, I will make sure our son gets it but until then, he has to get too many shots in his young life for me to add another one.

    As for sending them to school - unless he is actually running a fever (greater than 99.9), I send him to school with Tylenol. By the time the Tylenol wears off, he is usually fine. He had a cough for two straight weeks but didn't have any other symptoms and was in a good mood, eating, drinking and playing. I gave him his allergy med in the morning and then benadryl at bed with vicks on his feet. He eventually got over it and the school never called for me to get him - phew!

  36. With my kids being preemies and one having asthma, we all get the flu shot in our house as does any care givers they may have. It is worth it to me to get them a shot even though I don't like to have them poked because children can get very sick with the flu as you already know I'm sure.

    Also I have a few hangup with them being former preemies and all. Do you have any remaining hangup from your childrens NICU days and after?

    Also YES! I most defiantly have wanted to send them to school after I've kept them home for being sick. The minuet they know they don't have to attend, they seem to be so much better.

  37. Yes to the flu shots! Joe's cardiologist says everyone should have one and it would not be good for him to get the flu - although I think he's tougher than the rest of us! Also - my oldest had the flu at about age 12 - he was down and out sick for 7 days straight - if your kids have the flu they won't be wanting to get up and play - they can't! That's the difference - with the flu they won't move - if it's a virus or another illness they will have waves of illness and feeling ok.

  38. I have never had a flu shot, and never had a needle since childhood - AND I'LL GO TO MY GRAVE before I have one! :O Same thing goes for dental stuff. (I brush my teeth about 10 times a day out of pure FEAR of the dentist!)

    I am SO TERRIFIED of that stuff!!! :O

    I hope that answers your question. :D

    ~Cindy! :)

  39. I'm not sure what all 37 comments have said but YES, I definitely recommend getting the flu vaccine for your kids. I'm a pediatrician. I actually took my trio in today for flu shots. I went with shots for them b/c they needed another shot as well and so I thought it would be easier to give them both shots at once versus one shot and then wrestling something in their nose. For older kids like yours, I would absolutely go with the flu mist. It's totally easy. It's what I get every year. (if your kids have asthma they can't get it). I hate anything up my nose but the mist has gotten much finer over the years and doesn't have a bad taste anymore like it used to.

  40. If you are one to do the flu vaccine... go with the mist for the kids... and unless you confirm this latest illness is in fact the flu, they still should receive the vaccine. Be a real bummer to go through this illness then get the flu in a month!

  41. No Flu shots here for any kids as the government put a ban it for under 5's winter due to lots of kids having severe reactions



  42. what a bummer that they are sick:( We get the flu shot yearly ever since 2002. I took them the first week of Oct this year.

    I do keep them home for a fever, 24 hours after it is gone too. I just don't want them to spike it at school. I do know that many people send them with motrin'd fevers.

  43. Just an FYI - Expect your kids to be sick a lot this winter. When you move to a completely new region there are a completely new set of bugs that they haven't had before and they will catch. I've moved twice and both times I've moved I've been sick multiple times for the first year, then I'm fine. If you're at least considering it this is probably a good year for to get them flu shots to at least try to help them through the winter. Even if they miss some of the strains with it it's better than nothing.
    Hang in there, though, it's only one winter. After that it will be much better:)