Production of influenza vaccine (Photo credit: Sanofi Pasteur)
Yesterday W and I got flu shots, like we have been doing for the past several years. The year I missed getting one I ended up with pneumonia, so now I’m a dedicated believer in them. I’m in close contact at work with lots of people and breathing the same air, touching the same objects, wondering when the last time was they washed their hands, and why they can’t make themselves stay at home when they’re sick.
The influenza vaccine gives me some protection and makes me better able to fight off infections, and less likely to pass them on to other people. I don’t really care if it’s all in my head, I believe they work.
Normally I don’t have any adverse reaction to the shot, but yesterday, OMG, the stupid needle hurt. I gave the nurse the evil eye but she was not phased by it. Maybe she enjoys her role of inflicting pain. Or maybe she’s just not that good with needles. Later in the day I could still feel the pain, although there was no redness or swelling, no matter how many times I checked.
I read over the information sheet she gave me, in particular the possible side effects section, and (no surprise for this paranoid hypochondriac personality type) realized I had every one of them. Headache, muscle aches and pains, tiredness and irritability – the flu shot is a terrific excuse for all those things. I should get them more often. The fever and chills may have been caused by myself and W in our ongoing war of the thermostat. He turns it up, I turn it down. Somebody bakes, somebody freezes. Temperature incompatibility helps to alleviate a lot of marital boredom.
And MAYBE the extremely stiff-neck pain I had later in the day was the result of reading my kindle for hours at a stretch, so involved in the story that it made my muscles tense up and my head hurt. But of course today at work I won’t mention any of that, because this is my day to be out of sorts for a good reason. Usually I don’t have one that’s even remotely believable. So already the flu shot has made me feel better about myself and my moods.
There should be a section on their vaccine information paper about how long one can reasonably complain about the shot and how to fake a few of the anaphylaxis symptoms to garner sympathy without truly alarming anyone. And how to recognize customers who have severely weakened immune systems so that you know who you can’t possibly offer to help because you might kill them. I think two weeks of staying away from them sounds plausible. Maybe I’ll call up Alberta Health Services and offer to write that up for them. Lots more people would get the shot if I did.