University of Nevada, Reno student Taylor Henderson is dreading this flu season and has not been vaccinated.
“I haven’t gotten one in years,” Henderson said.
While millions of Americans get vaccinated to stay healthy, eighteen-year-old Henderson says it has never helped her. In fact, the flu shot
makes her sick.
“I realized every time I get [a flu shot] I get sick, so why should I keep getting one?” Henderson adds. Her body’s negative reaction to the vaccine was a lot like having the flu.
“I had a head cold, sore throat, bad cough, body aches, a fever and throwing up. It’s not fun,” She recalls. The college freshman has decided that she would rather contract the flu than experience side effects to the shot.
According to CBS News, 61 percent of flu related hospitalizations have been adults between the ages of 18-65. The seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for nearly everyone that are six months and older. However, there are several people that get the vaccine and still experience sides effects or still get the flu. Inside the flu
shot are triggers that cause antibodies to develop for protection against influenza. For many individuals, they stay flu free all year long but there are a handful of other people who still experience the flu or different types of the flu, despite the vaccination. The CDC says there are the standard side effects; nausea, soreness of injection sight or a low grade fever. These symptoms are also very similar to the flu itself. So, with all these negative outcomes from something that’s supposed to prevent someone from getting sick, how does the vaccine actually work?
Before flu season starts, there is a number of epidemiologists and scientists who determine what will be put into the seasonal flu vaccine.
“The vaccine is developed in the months prior based on what is predicted to be the strains that will be going around,” said Doctor Kimberly Perkins of Turnure Medical Group.
“This year the strains were predicted correctly, so the vaccine has a good chance of protection,” she said.
However, the flu can be unpredictable.
“Some seasons there is a strain that was not anticipated and not included in the vaccine so people are vulnerable,” Doctor Perkins noted.
When flu season does begin, it usually starts in October and can last through May, according to the CDC website.
“People are being congregated inside as it spreads in droplet form, sneezing and coughing.” Perkins informed. She also adds that it’s better to just get vaccinated so you are not spreading nor contracting the illness.
California native and college student, Sarah Swearingen goes through exactly what Henderson experiences
“I get sick from the vaccine. I would rather get the flu than experience the side effects from the shot.” Swearingen said.
Even though people can experience negative side effects from the vaccine, the CDC urges that individuals need to get vaccinated every year because flu viruses are constantly changing. They also say that the side effects are “short lasting and mild” compared the the flu itself.
In addition to the seasonal flu, there are different strains that can occur throughout the flu season; such as H1N1. In 2009, H1N1 caused nearly 200,000 deaths around the world and lead to people with the flu shot to get sick because the shot did not contain the H1N1 virus.
“There were healthy people that shouldn’t have been at risk, that died from H1N1 respiratory distress and failure,” Doctor Perkins remarked.
Now, the CDC says that traditional flu vaccines also known as “trivalent vaccines,” are made to protect a person from three different flu viruses: two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus. Since the flu shot has deactivated viruses in it, people that have been vaccinated have a better chance of staying healthy.
Doctor Perkins said there are many flu-indicative symptoms.
“Symptoms of the flu are classically fever, profound muscle aches, fatigue and a cough. H1N1 seems to have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.” Perkins lists. She also adds that there are antiviral drugs and other ways to recover.
“Antiviral Tamiflu doesn’t eradicate the virus but decreases replication by shortening symptoms by about a day. Otherwise, supportive care is making sure to stay hydrated, rest and medication, like Tylenol.”
Although she does not get the seasonal flu vaccine, Taylor Henderson plans on washing her hands, covering coughs and doing everything she can to protect herself and others from the flu.