Should You Get a Flu Shot?
Every fall the question of whether or not to get a flu shot arises. For some people, this is a no-brainer. But for those of us with fibromyalgia or ME/CFS (aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), the question poses something of a dilemma. Some people with FM or ME/CFS experience a flare or relapse following a flu shot. While this is not good, getting the flu can be even worse. For most FM and ME/CFS patients, the flu is worse and lasts much longer than the average person.
In past years, I have personally opted not to take the flu shot since I work from home and have minimal contact with other people. But I was also very careful about where I went, who I came in contact with, and what I touched. I carried antiseptic wipes with me and tried to remember to keep my hands away from my face. I've been fortunate – whether it's because my precautions have worked, I've been lucky, or by God's grace, I haven't had the flu for about 15 years.
Despite my past good fortune, everything has changed this year. Up till now my doctor has encouraged me to get the flu shot, but has accepted my decision not to do so. This year, though, with my new diabetes diagnosis, she is insisting that I get both the flu and pneumonia vaccinations. Apparently people with diabetes are three to four times more likely to die from influenza and pneumonia because diabetes can make our immune systems more vulnerable. So, in two weeks I'm scheduled to get my very first flue and pneumonia shots. I'll let you know how it goes.
What should you do? Only you and your doctor can make that decision. Read “Flu Shot Pros & Cons” for more information and talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you might have.
To find out more about what is anticipated for this flu season and vaccination availability, see the CDC's Seasonal Flu site.
I wish you all a flu-free season!