The importance of flu vaccine
In the years 2000-2001 I was in Grade Primary and though the chickenpox vaccine was licensed for use in Canada, it was not yet publicly funded in Nova Scotia. I caught chickenpox at school and spread it to my younger sister. I still remember being so hot my parents worried I would get brain damage. They forced me to take a cold bath and I remember how awful my hot temperature vs. the cold water was and remember crying. My parents said I had to do it or this terrible virus could hurt me. Mum would constantly have to remind us not to scratch ourselves. Everything felt hot and crusty and red and throbbing. Even the blankets and the chesterfield hurt against my skin.
Not only did I have to suffer through chickenpox, but I will always be at risk for shingles especially when I get older or take medicines to treat autoimmune disease. I have had guttate psoriasis which is a less common form of psoriasis that usually shows up in youths. I believe my psoriasis was caused by being infected with chickenpox as a child. My parents said I didn't have it when I was really young. It started at age 5 but I will have to deal with this and possibly shingles for the rest of my life. (Editor’s note: viral infections such as chicken pox have been known to trigger outbreaks of guttate psoriasis in children).
I have dealt with a lot of health issues during my life. I have chronic fatigue syndrome (SEID/CFS), nonverbal learning disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and hypersomnia. I value vaccines more than some people because I know what true disabling suffering is like and I value the prevention of needless suffering. One time my mum made yummy hearty chilli and the cold crispness of fall was in the air. I must have been 17. We didn't get our flu shots that year and I didn't know anything about how important they were. I was really hungry and ate 3 bowls of chilli but didn't know I was infected with the flu so soon after that my stomach hurt and I was laying in bed and extremely fatigued from my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
I vomited up all the chilli. It really hurt coming up. I was so tired I could barely lift my head to vomit. My mum had to clean it up off my floor because I was overwhelmingly exhausted by CFS plus influenza fatigue on top of that. It was really embarrassing. After that traumatic incident I used it to make a point about the importance of flu vaccination. I had also read some pro-science blogs that showed how vaccines are safe and effective and debunked the myths about them.
Now I remind mum to get me, her and my siblings the flu vaccine every year and I am pleased to say I have never caught the flu any of the years so far that I have had the flu vax. The flu season I vomited up the chilli I got three different flus. It was such an awful flu season for me and one I do not want to repeat if I can help it. I convinced my mum it's important to get the flu vaccine annually and now we do.
I think when you don’t get vaccinated; you are putting people with suppressed immune systems at risk. I think it is illogical of the government not to cover all Health Canada approved vaccines since vaccines are an investment in the health of individuals and the population as a whole. It is cheaper to prevent diseases than to treat them. Vaccines are a steal when you think about it. It's better for the environment to avoid using resources for treating conditions that could be prevented with vaccination. I think vaccines should be mandatory except for non-quackery medical exceptions.
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