My two hospitalizations for pneumonia dealt a significant blow to my needle phobia, though I still don’t like them. The nurse who gave me my last flu shot was excellent, and kept me talking through the whole thing, so like you I didn’t even notice.
I think I’m pretty typical of needlephobes: I know with certainty that stubbing my toe is far more painful than getting a shot.
It’s not the pain that’s bothersome. It’s the autonomic nervous system reaction–the fainting, the vomiting, the writhing and moaning, the sweating–that’s bothersome.
For me, the worst medical emergency of my life is associated with a flu shot, when I went to a clinic to get the vaccine and was surrounded by people getting the shot, and even though I was getting FluMist my phobia kicked in and I fell over and concussed and got a ride in an ambulance. Nearly a decade later I still have intermittent vertigo that I think is linked to that incident.
So I read things like this:
I think, that sounds SO MUCH BETTER than getting a shot. And for me, I genuinely think getting shots exposes me to greater health risk than not getting shots in many cases, because I’m a freak about needles.
LHOD, you have an ethical obligation to deal with your needle fear and get immunized. It really is not just about you. Influenza spreads through school children and by way of those fountains of infection to higher risk individuals. Plus of course some kids are themselves at high risk for more serious complications including death. Your aiding and abetting its spread as a consequence of your fear is … best avoided.
I didn’t get the flu shot (hardly ever do) and did not get the flu. And I realize that it’ just pure luck that I didn’t get sick, so I don’t advise avoiding flu vaccines. I got my last flu vaccine in 2009 (swine flu). I got flu several times as a child so I might have at least some natural resistance to certain strains, but I realize I’m begging for trouble. The vaccine’s a good idea unless you’re prone to allergic reactions to the vax (a certain small % of the population)
There’s a small % of the overall population who have problems with vaccines - they should not get the shots. The danger is that this small population is held up as an example of why we shouldn’t get vaccines. A small % of people die in auto accidents because they were wearing a seatbelt and their car ended up in a river and they couldn’t get their harness off in time and drowned – so many, many, many more lives were saved because they wore a seat belt and so many, many, many more lives because they didn’t. Probably a good analogy for getting the flu vaccine, and I say that as a horrible hypocrite. I don’t get vaccinated nearly as often as I should. I’m a lazy sonofabitch
My choice: “I did not get the vaccine and did NOT get the flu”
So far, of course.
Here’s my post from 2010 explaining why.
Never got the shot, ever. Never got the flu, never.
That easy, huh? Needle phobia is one of the least treatable phobias, due to its root in a physiological response. So thanks, but I’ll take my own understanding over yours.
Nitpick: I didn’t get the shot this year, because I had already gotten it in September.
I last had the flu about ten years ago, as did the spouse. Our daughter was still an infant and, fortunately, did not get the flu but the two of us were in such poor shape that there was a point at which I was trying to figure out which of our friends could look after her if the two of us either ended up in hospital or died. I mean, I’ve had lots of colds, allergies, respiratory infections and so forth but this was bad.
I’ve made sure to get a flu shot every year since then, and have not had the flu since.
You are of course free to.
But needle-phobia is no more or less “physiologic” than any other phobia and all are treatable. Certainly I am not saying easily. I am saying you and your phobia aint “special.” In this case at least your “understanding” of the ethical obligations to others is rooted in serving your own selfish interests. Your ethical obligation as a teacher of young children to decrease the risk of exposing others is only slightly less than mine as a healthcare provider. To be completely clear, I do not give a shit if you yourself get influenza; I am commenting on the impact that has on others.
I find it sadly entertaining that some of the same crowd who correctly lambast the parents who refuse to vaccinate and understand how those parents’ decisions are putting other children at risk, who very well understand herd immunity as a critical concept, dismiss the idea as having any ethical (or other) bearing when it comes to them getting vaccinated in relation to their irrational fear.
DSeid, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Here’s an article that discusses the etiology. I’ll let you do your own research on the diminished positive outcomes for treatment, but I’m not going to pay attention to your browbeating when you haven’t done the preliminary research to back up your claims.
screw that. The response is irrational. My fear of the response is as rational as the scar on the back of my scalp that I can still feel, and that could have been a lot worse. Your inability to parse this distinction is not my problem.
I will add that the sort of impatient ignorance you’re demonstrating here is sadly common in the medical profession, and leads to people with the sort of vasovagal phobia I’ve got being extra-leery of medical care. Don’t exempt yourself from being part of the problem, here.
One more note, and sorry for the triple-post: I get Flu Mist whenever it’s on offer, and find it about as unpleasant as most people find the shot. It’s been unavailable the last two years, based on an expected decreased efficacy compared to the shot. I strongly encourage epidemiologists to compare it both to the shot, and to not getting a vaccine at all, and figure out how many people make each of these choices, and decide whether it’s better to offer it for folks like myself who are willing to do the Flu Mist but not the shot.
Acknowledged that you will not engage.
Still I’ll note that I know more about fear of needles than you imagine and not just from a medical perspective. My dad, a WW2 era male stereotype, boxer in his teens who would’ve gone pro if his mother would’ve signed the permission, and who then joined the army when she wouldn’t, recruited for special forces and kicked out when he slugged a CO, whose mother wouldn’t initially take his money when he had a first good job coming back from the war because she thought that kind of money had to come from him beating people up for the mob … he had it bad. And it wasn’t easy for him to deal with. But he did.
A vasovagal response is no more and no less “physiologic” than is a sympathetic response.
From your link btw:
Did you even read what you linked to?
Cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR have both been effective approaches for severe needle phobia. Specific to the vasovagal response adding the technique of “applied muscle tension” has been beneficial. For someone who had severe needle phobia with an extreme vasovagal response who actually wanted to deal with it here is a protocol on how to use this “highly effective technique.”
Phobias, including needle phobia, are treatable. It does take some degree of actual effort though. Best done of course before an individual has a medical event that requires fairly frequent exposure to needles.
Understood that you are special.
If your allergy is to eggs there are now shots not made with eggs.
The first time in my life I got a flu shot around mid-December 2017.
Last week was admitted to hospital for two minor surgeries.
My attending nurse stopped by and said the entire hospital floor was at capacity with mostly flu sufferers. Was tested the next day and sure enough, infected by Influenza Type A.
I spent an extra two days isolated in a private room and fed Tamiflu twice a day. The symptoms seem mild compared to what I have heard. I attribute that to dosages of Tamiflu and whatever residual effects the vaccine had.
Besides I got to see the cute nurses an extra two days. They sure were over-worked.
Actually, per CDC guidance, those who are allergic to eggs CAN get regular influenza vaccine. If the allergy is serious and severe (meaning reactions like like cardiovascular changes or a reaction requiring epinephrine) then you just want to be sure to do it where there is a health care provider who can recognize and respond to a severe allergic response.
Those with hives from eggs can have any flu vaccine without any cautions needed.
The allergy that should not get the flu vaccine is specific to having had an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine in the past.
Flu is widespread this year but only 10% of the population will get it. Go figure. I use to get flu 3 times a year, when I started getting the shot it went to 2x a year. Then I started taking 1 capsule of Standardized Echinacea twice a week instead of getting the shot and haven’t had the flu or a rhinovirus cold in the 20 years since. Maybe it doesn’t work for everybody, but it’s cheap and easy and everybody ought to try it. Completely changed my life.
I always get a flu shot anyway, but this year, I was diagnosed with cancer, so of course I got one because I had no idea what kinds of treatments I’d be facing. Haven’t gotten the flu, either, not yet anyway.
And I’m probably cancer-free as well.