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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate that is the question


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#1 marsha

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:30 AM

Just a quick question..
I have been getting my flu shots yearly and my pneumonia shots when they are due. I was wondering if this is really necessary? How many of you get your flu/pneu shots and how many don't and what are the benefits or consequences?
I hope everyone is keeping warm and safe
Marsha

#2 Joelf

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 09:23 AM

Hi Marsha,

Funnily enough, I've just had a flu jab last week and am due to have a pneumonia jab the next time I go for my regular blood test.

I was in a quandry initially as to whether to have one when I was first diagnosed and in fact had to make a bit of a fuss in order for the receptionist at my doctors' to include me on their list. I was concerned that I could be bombarding my overactive immune system with more antibodies, but as it's a "dead" vaccine and my Brompton consultants had recommended it, that was good enough for me!! This is the fourth year that I've had the jab and (touch wood!! ;) ) I've never experienced a problem with it. With my lung fibrosis, I really don't want to risk a chest / lung infection, so anything I can do to help prevent it, I'm happy to do!

The nurses at my doctor's surgery all know me now and I usually have one on one side taking blood, whilst another on the other side shoves the needle in. It kills two birds with one stone and saves me having to make two appointments......(the human dartboard, that's me! :lol: )

Kind regards,

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#3 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 12:51 PM

Hi Marsha,

That's a great question about the flu/pneumonia vaccines. This is something for everyone with systemic scleroderma, or any other serious disease that could potentially affect the lungs, to discuss with their doctor.

My doctor(s) heartily recommend flu and pneumonia vaccines. That is because with whacked immune systems, we are more vulnerable to every infection (not just lung infections), and furthermore, we may not be able to survive a bad flu or pneumonia. When we have lung involvement, to any degree, we are also more likely to succumb to the onslaught of any bad respiratory infection.

In other words, it is a very REAL risk for people with systemic scleroderma. So, why tempt fate, for something that is, in large part, avoidable?

:emoticons-group-hug:
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#4 judyt

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:24 PM

Hi Guys,
We are just about at the end of our winter now (we hope) so this subject is not top of my list at the moment. However, I have agreed to have the vaccination every year since it has been available to me and I would have to say that I have felt the benefit. In previous years I would have succumbed to at least one heavy cold and occasionally Flu but lately I have flown through the winter with barely a sniffle. Our weather here is temperate I.e. not terribly cold and very humid ,ideal breeding for bugs I think. A couple of years ago I had a sinus infection and nasty cough but apart from that, fingers crossed, I have stayed well.

Hope you all manage to have a dryish winter and to keep warm.

Best wishes
Judyt

#5 miocean

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:28 PM

I started getting flu shots before scleroderma as I taught little kids. On dialysis both the flu and pneumonia vaccines were given as well as hepatitis. My husband didn't get a flu shot until a couple of years ago when he was knocked flat on his back for over a week. Poor him. :sickly:

Poor me! :( My cook and caregiver was down and out for the count. All I could offer to do was open up a can of soup, which he didn't want to eat, a good thing because my hands couldn't open the can! Since then he has one every year.

I just had mine yesterday. I keep a record of all my vaccines and keep them all up to date. I updated my tetanus shot this year as well. With all the issues I have a simple cold or infection can be very dangerous. I'd rather get a shot than end up in the hospital. :temper-tantrum:

My husband doesn't want to get the flu again after being so incapacitated and he realizes that if he gets sick I could, too, or even worse, starve to death. :P


Although there is some controversy about vaccines and the flu shot doesn't necessarily cover every possible strain of the flu for me it is better to try and protect myself.

miocean
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#6 amberjolie

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 06:40 PM

I recently had my tetanus/diptheria booster and the pneumococcal vaccine (is that the pneumonia one?) because I'm starting Remicade on Monday and my rheumatologist didn't want to risk infections. I will ask her about the flu shot. I never used to get them because I used to always get sick right after the shot, but I'm going to have to think about it more seriously now, especially with the Remicade and methotrexate.

#7 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 09:20 PM

Hi Amberjolie,

One thing that many of us don't know about the flu shot is that it takes a full two weeks for it to take effect. So it is very possible to come down with the flu right after getting the shot.

Also it only prevents the most popular flu that is going around, so we can still get renegade flu's and any other cold or upper respiratory virus, even pneumonias. Which is yes, why you received the pneumonia vaccine. The pneumonia vaccines are typically good for a number of years (usually five). And the pneumonia shots are not foolproof, in fact some meta-studies have shown that people get the same number of pneumonias with or without the vaccine; but the big difference is that the people who were vaccinated are more likely to get less invasive forms, and thus are more likely to survive it.

My husband was in a clinical trial for a new pneumonia shot. They were experimenting with one that only covered about 7 of the main pneumonia bugs rather than 20 or so. Unfortunately that shot didn't seem to help him in the least, and he had pneumonia almost back-to-back in the year leading up to his lung transplant. He had to promise to wait two years before getting the "real" pneumonia shot, and that was a mighty long two years!

Now I've exhausted everything I've ever known about vaccines. :emoticon-dont-know:
:emoticons-group-hug:
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#8 amberjolie

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 06:33 PM

Well, I guess I won't get a flu shot after all. My husband is absolutely convinced that the medical system is pushing it on everyone when it isn't necessary. He claims we haven't had flus for years, which is correct, but with both of us on biologics...

But I'll go along with him for now. I did get the pneumococcal at least. And I don't currently have any lung issues or anything.

#9 marsha

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 01:17 PM

I ended up getting the flu shot 2 1/2 weeks ago. The only side effect I had was a sore arm for several days. My daughter was very sick for 2 weeks, and I managed to keep myself well. When she was better I got a cold and I have been battling this for 2 weeks on Tuesday.. I am exhausted I have pretty much slept for 2 weeks. I went to see my PPO and I looked at him and said I never know how much is the "illness" and how much of the exhaustion is the SSc (systemic sclerosis). I am looking forward to getting myself better. I hope everyone out there had a wonderful Thanksgiving..

#10 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:23 PM

Hi Marsha,

I'm sorry you've had a cold and been exhausted. It only makes sense though, since you were sick on top of being sick. I hope you start recovering some energy soon. In fact, I'm going to send you a supply of spoons to try to help see you through it.

:spoon: :spoon: :spoon: :spoon: :spoon: :spoon: :spoon:
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#11 Joelf

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:09 AM

Hi Marsha,

I'm sorry to hear that both you and your daughter have been sick and I do hope that you're feeling better now. Unfortunately there are a lot of things going round now; it doesn't help that in the UK it's been so wet and relatively mild.

Here's a few more spoons :spoon: :spoon: :spoon: to keep company with the ones Shelley's given you!

Kind regards,

Jo Frowde
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#12 marsha

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:24 AM

Thank you all for the spoons... I think I am finally on the mend!