My husband won't get a flu shot, we have a baby, and I am DREADING the flu season.

I have a baby, and a husband, and I am DREADING the flu season.

Not for myself: I’ll get a flu shot allright. But we have a six month old. And a sick baby, as you all know, is heartbreaking , hard work with no sleep. But, a hundred times worse is a sick baby with a husband expects time off from household and baby duties, just when I’m feeling not a hundred percent myself. That’s a nightmare.

I know my husband when he has a cold or the flu, and I can’t help but hate him, a little, when he gets sick. It’s not so much that he expects to be pampered. But when he is sick, he reverts back into a sort of bachelor who acts like he’s living in the house all by himself.

He lays on the couch, or in bed, all the time, dressed in an increasingly smelly ratty bathrobe or not dressed at all. He doesn’t shower. He litters the house with used tissues, empty bags of ramen noodles and chips, and dirty cups and plates. He strews around read magazines, watched dvd’s and played videogames. It is not that he expects me to pick up after him; but if I don’t, the house is going to look, feel and smell like…well, like a filthy dorm room. I can’t stand that, I really can’t.
And when I ask him to do his chores, he says he’s too sick. Which he is, he’s not lying about that. So I have to do it all.

And the minute he feels *any *better, he gets back to work. His philosophy is: “Always return sniffing, so they know you weren’t faking”. So he and I don’t even get to enjoy that pleasant time off where you’re still sick, but not feeling bad anymore, and are able to move around the house a bit.

We have an agreement where we both work 4 days a week. The household, grocery shopping and cooking is my responsibility, and the baby is his. We just get by this way, barely. But I know I can’t do it all, and care for three persons. I’ll go mad. I went a bit mad earlier this year when all three of us had a cold, and I was the one who was the least sick. I don’t want a repeat of that.

I’ve asked him, begged him, *ordered *him, (and yeah, that didn’t work) to get a flu shot this year. He refuses adamantly. Says flu shots aren’t proven to work, and that the only reason they are so widespread in the US is so employers can force their employees not to miss work. And he said the result is more overworked personel, because workers don’t have those two weeks when work is forced to the background. It looks like he sees the flu as a legitimate vacation, a vacation he pays for by being sick.

But in this case, I feel I have a reason, more legitimate then any employer, to want my husband to get a flu shot. Am I wrong?

And, to lay the groundwork, can anyone point me to some reliable info on how effective flu shot are, and about the dangers, if any?

If he’s playing video games and shuffling around the house, he’s not getting the flu. He’s getting a cold, which the flu vaccine won’t prevent. Influenza is a remarkably debilitating illness, which our own dear **Quadop **once described something like: “If you’re lying sick in bed and you see a $100 bill flutter down outside your window and land on the grass outside and you get up and go get it, you have a cold. If you sigh and shiver and go back to sleep, you have influenza.”

The effectiveness of the vaccine can really only be determined post-facto, and it’s dependent mostly on whether or not researchers made a good guess as to which strains of influenza where most likely to hit this year.Last year’s results were not so good. There will be no way of telling whether this year’s batch will be better until spring.

For what it’s worth, my husband and I had the same fight. In the end, I got the baby vaccinated instead of him - the vaccine is approved for 6 months and up.

Has your husband had any negative experiences with the flu shot? I’ve gotten it twice, and both times I got the flu within the week. (Incidentally, I’d put both those bouts in my top five “sickest I’ve ever been”.) Now, my results are certainly not typical, and if I understand how vaccines work (which I may well not), my flu almost certainly didn’t come from the vaccine. But twice was enough for me, and I haven’t bothered since.

If he hasn’t had any negative experiences, then I think he should get the shot. The worst thing that can happen if he does is he gets the flu anyway.

I’d also like to concur with **WhyNot **and **QtM **that if he thinks of the flu as a ‘vacation’, he’s never had it. I get a couple of colds every year. I do NOT get the flu every year. In fact, I’ve only had it once other then when I got the shots. The flu is not a stuffy head and a cough and a general feeling of ickiness. The flu is lying in bed freezing despite your 102 degree fever, aching miserably all over, and wishing for death.


I would have found it hard getting up and leaving the house if it was on fire …

mrAru and I remark that the flu feels remarkably like being rolled down Niagara Falls in a barrel … parts hurt that you didn’t even know you had. Hell, your hair hurts. Last time he had it it was almost 3 weeks of misery for him. I would make 2 huge thermal carafes of hot tea, one thermos of chicken soup, and leave him those cute little cups of apple sauce, packages of crackers, a bottle of lemonaid and the remote to the tv. I would have loved to be home taking care of him but I was working 50 miles away. I would get home and find him exactly how I left him - I doubt he moved more than to get up and go to the bathroom.

Last time I had it I ended up in hospital for dehydration. I was sleeping 20 hours a day, and not eating or drinking…do this for 5 days and you are in pretty rocky shape. I felt worse than when I had mono … :frowning:

I’ve had only one flu shot my entire life. I’d venture to say that most people have raised kids without benefit of flu shots. I’m not sure those commercials pushing flu shots for families with babies are accurately reflecting the risk.

In Victoria last year (population 5.5 million) there were only 1590 cases of influenza notified to the health authorities (it is an officially notifiable disease btw). It was indeed up from previous years, but nowhere near the epidemic proportions that the pharmaceutical companies and their ad agencies would have you believe.

This is one of my pet peeves actually, like other posters have noted. If you are consciously aware that you feel crook, you DON’T have the 'flu. Rocking up to work with a cough and a sniffle (no matter how much you whinge and whine) means you DON’T have the 'flu. If you are able to ring to make an appointment with the Dr and then, under your own steam actually attend that appointment…then you DON’T have the 'flu.


Oh, and to answer the OP (oops, sorry for the soapbox!!), chances are you’ll not get the 'flu anyway, and in my humble experience, those who DO have a 'flu shot are more apt to claim they’ve gotten it anyways.

Not that they have or anything, but I think they just like to complain and seek sympathy or summat.


Hmnn…looks like my husband had a cold then, not the flu. He does stay in bed at least two days when he is sick, and doesn’t do a whole lot more then sleep, but from what I hear here, that also is consistent with havng a common cold.

Does anyone know, if I get a flu shot, do I transfer the immunity to my baby in my (expressed) breastmilk?

I know other families with (several!) infants have muddled through those trying times when mom, or dad, or both, got sick. But I don’t feel I am as energetic and strong as those people. I still am a bit depressed/burnout/whatever, and have been the past few years, and while I know I should be able to manage the Everybody Sick-scenario, I don’t feel up to it.

I don’t think so because my wife is nursing our four month old, jut got her flu shot, and has set up an appointment for the little one’s shot at six months. I’d have to ask her to make 100% sure though.

Not sure how persuasive this will be, but US employers often pay for their employees’ flu shots because it is a net positive for them. In other words, the employer can pay for the nurses to come, the shots themselves, and for employees to stop work to get the shots, and still come out ahead based on reduced absenteeism. And big employers don’t make a decision like this without running the numbers. To me, this indicates that if I value my time as much as my employer does, I should get the shot.

Here’s an excerpt from cost-benefit study, Vaccination versus treatment of influenza in working adults: A cost-effectiveness analysis. Michael B. Rothberg MD, MPHa, b, , and David N. Rose MD, The American Journal of Medicine Volume 118, Issue 1, January 2005, Pages 68-77

“For the 10-year period, antiviral therapy without vaccination was associated with the lowest overall costs ($234 per person per year). Annual vaccination cost was $239 per person, and was associated with 0.0409 quality-adjusted days saved, for a marginal cost-effectiveness ratio of $113 per quality-adjusted day gained or $41,000 per quality-adjusted life-year saved compared with antiviral therapy. No intervention was the most expensive and least effective option. In sensitivity analyses, lower vaccination costs, higher annual probabilities of influenza, and higher numbers of workdays lost to influenza made vaccination more cost-effective than treatment. If vaccination cost was less than $16 or time lost from work exceeded 2.4 days per episode of influenza, then vaccination was cost saving compared with all other strategies.”

Agreed, real influenza kicks your rear end. I’ve only had it once in my life (as a teen), but as I work in a medical center I not only am more likely to be exposed to it, I don’t want to pass it on to patients before becoming symptomatic. A few years back, my husband got it (had the positive antibody test at his doctor’s office and everything), and I’d been vaccinated through work and was fortunately not infected. My husband was bundled up in layers of blankets and I could see him visibly shaking with the chills. He had enough energy to get to the bathroom, and to either the couch or the bed, and that was about it. For the first couple days I was home with him (over the weekend), so I made him all of his food; when I went back to work, I had precooked portions of soup in containers in the fridge, and he could shuffle to the kitchen and put them in the microwave. Nearer the middle of his illness, he got the urge to do something other than lie down, so he tried to wash some dishes. Shortly after starting, he lost his burst of energy, crashed down to the floor on his knees, and pretty much crawled back to the couch.

That being said, I know that colds/bronchitis really suck, but they shouldn’t get you to the point where you can’t even keep your garbage somewhat contained. Your husband is being inconsiderate, even without avoiding the flu shot.

The costs of treating people with the flu, in addition to the antiviral drug therapy alluded to in an earlier post, include the costs of treating flu-associated complications (such as superimposed pneumonia) as well as all the nonspecific symptom-relieving drugs and treatments used in flu patients.

So if physicians and drug companies decided not to push flu vaccination, they’d wind up making more money.

Qadgop’s explanation of the difference between a cold and the flu is nice. The one I’ve heard is, “If you’re afraid you might die, you have a cold. If you’re afraid you won’t, you have the flu.”

I was hoping they could tell sooner :frowning: Last year was only the second time in my life that I got the flu, and it took nearly a month before I was able to get through the day without 10-14 hours of sleep. I would like not to repeat the experience, but if the flu vaccine turns out as useless as last year’s I’m worried I’ll catch it from elderly coworkers again…

I like that…very accurate. I’ve only had the flu twice, and the most recent time was about 8-9 years ago. My husband and I both had it, and I swear we slept about 20 hours without waking up or even moving. When we finally woke up, I was kind of surprised we WEREN’T dead.

Maastricht, I know how you are feeling…when my kids were your baby’s age, I was really dragging. And it’s tough, because even the most considerate husbands (whoever they are :)) don’t really know what it’s like to have a baby and how it can change you. I would forget about trying to get him to get a flu shot, and try to talk to him about the way he’s behaving when he’s sick.

If you’re really concerned, maybe you could call your child’s pediatrician and ask for his/her opinion, and if he/she thinks your husband or child is at risk or should get a shot, have your husband talk to the pediatrician.

I’ve asked my husband to go to pediatric visits with me before due to disagreements related to our son, though not about vaccinations. I tend to do the most research and reading about infant/toddler health and development and we’ve had some disagreements about the amount our kid should be eating (me thinking he should eat until he’s done, my husband having preconceived notions about how much he should eat and pressing him to eat more). However well informed it is, my opinion doesn’t always hold as much water for my husband as our doctor’s does (understandably so), even for seemingly simple things. It’s also nice to have a third opinion in the event you’re getting worked up about something relatively minor (not that you are - I’m speaking from my own experience here).

For what it’s worth, my husband and I deal with the flu shot conundrum each year, both about vaccinating ourselves and our son. I don’t think we’ll vaccinate him next year due to his horrible reactions to the shot. Each time we’ve vaccinated him, he’s been sick for a week or so after with an extremely high fever, persistent cough, extreme snottiness and general discomfort. I also read somewhere that small children who are generally healthy don’t need flu shots (I read this in What to Expect: The Toddler Years), but that people who have regular contact with babies and the elderly should consider getting one. If it’s any comfort to you, given the amount of poo your child is likely to get his hands into (both his own and any animals’ you may have) and the amount of other illnesses he’ll be exposed to if he’s in daycare, plus the fact that the flu vaccine never covers all strains out there, the flu may be the least of your concerns.

Agree that hubby had a cold and not the flu. I had the flu for the first time this year, and couldn’t even get out of bed to make myself a cup of tea (my kettle is about ten feet from my bed).

If he gets sick despite not having had the shot, whether it’s the flu or a cold, leave him to his bachelordom. Take the baby and go and stay with a friend/your mum for a few days; ask him to call you when he feels better and when the house is tidied up. Also, go to Youtube and look up ‘man stroke woman manflu’ and make him watch it. :slight_smile:

Flu, cold, whatever. Your husband sounds like a douche. I’m definitely supportive of cutting a sickie some slack… for a few days. And it’s nice when they think to wash their hands and toss out their own tissues to prevent spreading whatever they’ve got.

He reciprocates when you’re sick, right? Does your chores, picks up after you?

I don’t know if he’s being a dick or not, but his reasoning sucks.

These 2 statements are not logically compatible.
If flu shots don’t work, then people still miss work because of the flu, and the employer spent money for nothing. Unless your husband seriously thinks that upper management is knowingly giving people a useless vaccine, in order to say, when somebody calls in sick with the flu: “Get to work, you liar. I paid for your flu shot.” I can assure you that the vast majority of employers in the US do not have a clue about whether their workers have had a particular immunization, nor do they interrogate workers’ about their immunization records when they call in sick. If you call in, you either get excused for illness or you don’t.

The same could be said about any situation where you’d like to have 2 weeks off, but don’t get it. What does being sick have to do with it?

Flu infection=vacation? 2 weeks with the flu makes you wish you were at work without it. Either he’s Superman, or he’s caught a cold.

Is there any possibility the issue could actually be needle phobia? I’m extremely needle phobic, so I basically get shots if and only if an illness could kill me or leave me permanently disabled otherwise, or if it’s a shot I have to get or they won’t let me into school or work. I could see someone being a needle-phobe and not wanting to admit it, and coming up with excuses like your husband’s.

There is a flu vaccine, at least in this country, called FluMist, that they squirt up your nose- no needles. I need to get it one of these days. Do you have FluMist or something like it in the Netherlands?