Flu Shots - yea or nay?

Here’s the situation: I’m a 23yo healthy female. I tend to get a massive cold once a year, and a few minor ones, but generally seem to have a pretty strong immune system. I do lab research in a large hospital, but have little to no patient contact beyond passing them in the hall or at the cafeteria. The hospital is offering free flu shots to all employees. I’ve never had a flu shot, and haven’t had the flu since I was 11. (On my 11th birthday, no less!)

So, what say you? Should I get a free flu shot? If yes, why, if no, why not? Will it make me feel crappy for a few days? Should I do it anyway? Also, feel free to share your flu shot experiences.

Yes. In years without shortages, everybody should get a flu shot. It rarely makes you feel symptomatic (tho’ you might have arm soreness for the rest of the day), it means you won’t get the flu (which is awful – much worse than a regular cold), and, most importantly, it prevents you from being a vector to spread the flu to others. When you get the shot, you help yourself, and you help society.

The calculus is different when there’s a shortage of vaccine, because then you should leave it to susceptible populations. But I haven’t heard anything about shortages this year.


Yes. The shot itself will not make you feel crappy. You aren’t in the group for which flu should be dangerous–but it would make you feel crappy for a week or two.

And you’ll be contributing to “herd immunity”–to help protect those not so young & strong. And the little sissy girls!

I’m offered free flu shots at work. I take them.

Absolutely! Ask anybody who has had a bad case of the flu, as I have had. I was down for about ten days, and at least seven of them I thought I was going to die. No fun, and the shot is practically painless as has been posted here.

I work in a facility connected to a hospital and we were offered them too. Even if you don’t contact patients directly you probably contact people and things that have been around them. I would definitely get it. Even if there are some side effects, they will be comparably short-lived.

I’m getting one from work. I’m a sub. The way I see it, my livelihood depends on me staying healthy while those around me get sick. Besides, kids are just little germ-carriers.

I say get it, herd immunity and Murphy’s Law make it a safe bet.


Yeah, get it. I used to have the flu needle every year, so I’d never had the flu, but I stopped several years ago. We get it for free at work, but I’m seemingly never in the right place, at the right time, to get it there. I know, it’s cheap and not terribly difficult to get it from your GP, but I just couldn’t be bothered the last couple of years. I mean, I probably won’t get it, and how bad can it be?

This (southern hemisphere) winter just gone, I caught the flu. It was probably the milder ‘B’ strain, and it made watching the Olympics more interesting, but buggered if I want to go through that again in a hurry. Next year it’s the needle for me, for sure.

Maybe if I want another fortnight laid up at home to watch the 2012 Olympics, I’ll skip it again then. :wink:

I never get a flu shot.

I never get the flu.

Can’t say whether one is related to the other or not.

I had the flu once. I went from feeling that I was going to die, to wishing I was dead.

I get a flu shot every year now.

I always get a flu shot, but mostly because I’m concerned about spreading it to my patients.

St. Urho

I have heard from people who have had the flu. I also work in a fairly public place, and who knows what sort of germs people are carrying inside. So yes, I get a shot. They have them for us free, so I got it on Tuesday. My arm was slightly sore the next day or I’d never have known it happened. The actual shot I hardly felt. Honest.

Even if it had hurt more, from all reports, it’s better than the flu.

I’m low risk for a bad outcome,
but high risk for exposure and transference so yeah, every year

I feel for you folks who get the flu. I don’t know what it’s like, and I don’t think I want to know…

I don’t get sick. I have a super strong immune system for some reason (also allergic to nothing, just a very mild allergy to mold) I’ve had food poisoning once and Appendicitis. The only “colds” I’ve gotten (maybe a handful) would last a few hours.

ETA: Oh, to answer the question, no. I’ve never once gotten a flew shot. Just a tetanus shot about 10 years ago. I’m due for another.


I’m self-employed, work with kids. Hub works with large numbers of people in close proximity, including weeks at a time of sleeping in large groups together. (I’m trying to write that so it doesn’t sound like an orgy, but failing…)

In any case five years ago he did a training exercise with several thousand particpants, four hundred of whom slept in a gym. Someone there passed the flu bug on and he came home and stayed with us one night before driving back four hours to where he was working at the time. He ended up in his apartment, in Hokkaido, in February with no food and ran out of heating oil. He was without food or heat for four days before he could drag himself out to get some. We all got sick the day after he left.

Me, a three year old and a seven year old. We were so sick that we couldn’t get up the stairs and spent two days and nights on the carpet downstairs with rugs and blankets. The first night the younger one vomited but I was so sick that all I did was grab a throw rug off the sofa and chuck it on top of the sick. My seven year old crawled to the kitchen to get a drink of water for the three year old. No help was forthcoming from neighbours or family.

The kids got over it quite rapidly and were back at school the day after the mandatory quarantine (five days I think, in Japan) was over. Me, I was off work for ten days which was ten days with no pay. And a shitload of money for takeout food and medicines etc. Ironically we had not gotten the shots that year because we had just moved and I had just opened my own English school and we were skint. NEVER AGAIN.

We went and got stuck this morning as a matter of fact!

I know it is said in every single flu thread but I will say it again. If you have had flu you will know how utterly shitty it makes you feel. I literally could not stand up for two days and I spent the next four or five lying on my back, thinking about how thirsty I was and how I should get up and get a drink but that would go on for literally three hours at a time as I could not work up the energy to move. AND my two kids were sick too. It was a nightmare.

I can’t remember the last time I had the flu (though historically I haven’t been religious about getting the vaccine), but I am an asthmatic who is prone to bronchitis, and whose great-grandfather died in the 1918 flu pandemic. So yeah, I get the shot. It took 5 minutes to run downstairs and a bit of arm soreness, bu that beat the hell out of death from possible complications.

Longish tale but maybe useful.

My workplace, several years ago, gave one of our offices free flu vaccinations as a trial. At the end of Winter I was asked to evaluate the results. It was clear that the staff who had the flu vax had a far lower incidence of sick leave due to the flu. By coincidence I got the worst flu of my life that winter. So the result was that my employer started providing free vaccinations to all the staff and I started getting one each year.

The results? I have not had a dose of the flu since. However, a couple of weeks ago I was asked to do a cost benefit analysis of the program. The results surprisingly were that people who had the vaccination had **more ** sick leave due to flu than staff that didn’t have the vaccination.

Now I am sure this is bullshit, just like the people who claim the vaccination “gave” them the flu. Lots of people think any sniffle is the flu and don’t realise that it is a serious disease, and lots of people take sick leave when they aren’t sick. During flu season flu is a popular excuse.

On seeing my post check out Hokkaido Brit - that is influenza.

The school district in which I work offers a 'flu/pneumonia vax (for pay); I got it from them this year, but usually get it from my doc (it means a short shlep, but my co-pay is less than the amount the school district wants).

I’m a 29 y.o., generally healthy woman; though I have a physical disability, it doesn’t affect my lungs. Rarely sick, hardly ever ill enough to call in to work. I had my only battle with pneumonia when I was 26. I wouldn’t wish it on any but the most horrible people.

My first year at the school where I currently teach, I had this cough for about a week before the pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday. I felt sick, but not Sick with a capital “s”. That is, not sick enough to take off during a three day week during my first year at a school. So I powered through; after all, a four day weekend was coming. I’d recover then.

Well, I went home Wednesday, still feeling crap. Something must’ve happened during my ten minute drive home, 'cause when I got there I nearly collapsed transferring from my car to my chair. Went inside, went to the bathroom, went to bed for thirteen hours straight. For the next several days I could leave bed only to use the bathroom.

That Saturday, I went to the ER (first time I could get into/out of bed without help) & was diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs. Took me until that Friday to feel well enough to go to work, but then I developed pneumona-related asthma. Had to take another few days. Still get a little wheezy when I get a horrible, time-to-take-a-day cold.

Get the shot, I say. Really, do.

I’ve never gotten a flu shot, but I’m getting one this year (in fact, next week). I got the flu for the first time ever last year in late November. I felt like utter crap, I even had to miss a good friend’s wedding.

Then I got plueresy from coughing so much. It’s an inflamation of the lining of the lungs. It is the most painful thing I have ever experienced, and I’ve had a herniated disk and back surgery. I mean, it was searing hot pain with every breath, and when I would cough or sneeze the pain would literally bring me to tears. I couldn’t sleep, because I couldn’t get comfortable. It took two months of antibiotics and steroids before it got to the point where I started to feel normal.

If I hadn’t gotten the flu, I wouldn’t have gotten plueresy. And, as an aside, let me add that I have got to be the only person on the face of the earth who was sick for two months and didn’t lose any freaking weight.

Get the shot, if you work in a hospital. You may not really contact patients, but patients are contacting damn near everything in that building - door handles, pay phones, chair armrests… and the transfer of a flu bug can very easily go either way. You can hand it off to a sick patient, or a flu-riddled patient can pass it to you. Actually, this is also a good time to remind everyone to wash the hell out of your hands as often as you can stand it! Helps keep all manner of bugs from getting at you!

So yes, I heartily recommend the flu shot. Especially if they’re offering it to you at no cost. The flu kills people - anything we can do to reduce its spread is a good thing.

You can tell flu season is upon us because everyone who comes into our emergency room with a cough or muscle aches is getting swabbed for a flu test. We’re doing an average of 15 tests per night now. In January and February, we can get up to 50. So far, no positives yet.