This story began a few weeks ago with us looking after our wonderful, clever, enthusiastic grandson, Talon. His parents went away for a few days and we had him for 3 days. He IS a daycare kid and so was coughing when he arrived. Given the circumstances there was nothing we could do about that, and kids are just so lousy at covering their cough etc etc etc. We quickly resolved ourselves to the idea that we were going to GET THIS COLD. I guess we bargained with ourselves,……fair enough,….it has been years since have been sick….. our turn…. etc… The last day we had him we started to feel the signs and knowingly looked at each other….. here we go.
Now what we were expecting was a few days of feeling lousy, cough, runny nose , then a few days of feeling not so bad, and that would be about it.
Well that is nothing like what we got. I should point out here that we are fully vaccinated for Covid AND got our influenza shots last November (and incidentally SO did Talon, our grand son).
Now Influenza is quite a different puppy to a cold 🐶…… 7-10 days of fevers, productive cough, general body aches, fatigue and copious amounts of mucus.
So 10 days later, we are starting to feel better. We have gone through 2 cases of toilet paper, and twice a day have had a nice little fire ….burning bits of it. (note we use toilet paper instead of Kleenex because we cannot find Kleenex made of bamboo)
We do not think we have ever been this sick, we might have, …… and forgotten about it…. But we do not think so.
Talon, our grandson, on the other hand was better by the time he got back to his parents. Were we making all this up?????
Now I did not sit down to write this to attract sympathy (…but who does not like a little sympathy when one is sick🤧) After much contemplation, (lotsa time on my hands) I see that this story illustrates some issues about vaccines/influenza, that are not always given. SO why did we get sick, we had done everything in our power to prevent influenza?
Well how good IS the flu vaccine? The flu vaccine reduces your need to seek medical care by 60%. Ah…. so it is not the be all end all prevention for flu. One thing that is quite clear, the flu vaccine does not prevent you from getting the flu. This is the most important part of all of this. You still get the flu when are exposed to it.
However if you look at that 4 year old, who is sliding down that hill (I should add he climbed up MANY times in order to slide down) was a kid with influenza….. Influenza that has been tempered with a vaccine, that is… So basically taking a more severe illness and turning it into a cold. In the fall, as you may recall, the children’s hospitals all over were overflowing with children with influenza and RSV.
The vaccine clearly did not work that well on us. We feel we are pretty darned healthy, we are able to walk miles every day and are going off in the fall to walk Hadrians Wall in England. (10 miles a day) We feel we eat a very healthy diet… the ONLY risk factor for us is that I will be 67 this year and Ken 69. I guess it kept us from needing medical attention, or hospitalization.??
So if the influenza vaccine only protects you by 60%, we really should be working hard at reducing the incidence of influenza in the general population. This would decrease the chances of being exposed to it in the first place. Only 50% of people get the flu vaccine, what if that number were 80%? What would happen if 80% of the population got the flu vaccine? Well what has been shown with our more historic infectious diseases such as polio, smallpox… etc was that when 80-85% of the population is vaccinated, the disease become rare. (Even though the vaccines do not work on everyone). I graduated from med school in 1990 and have never seen a case of polio, small pox, or rubella. (I had rubella as a child)
I guess my goal here was to put a bug in your ear to begin thinking about getting the flu vaccine in the fall. It could either protect you from getting the flu, OR it might prevent you from passing the flu onto a susceptible person, or who knows you might save someone else’s life by stopping the chain of infection. (hope it is someone nice)
I firmly feel that vaccines save lives, but not necessarily your own….. someone around you.
I must say that we feel very fortunate to have been able to enjoy such a wonderful view during this illness and I am very thankful to Jeffrey Archer for writing such great series books, that I could sit and read all day.
So we are now at the tail end of our flu and feeling so fortunate for our health. Tucker just thinks that we are a couple of lazy slackers, and he does not hesitate to tell us so. He is keeping us in physical shape by barking to get in, then barking to get out etc etc etc.
Much love and health to all this Easter Sunday…, Janet, Ken and Tucker, the annoyingly healthy dog.