During my last visit to the doctor, I was told that I needed a flu shot. I've avoided them and haven't ever had a lot of issues with the flu.
My doctor, who specializes in diabetes management told me that the elderly, infants, and people with diabetes (and a few other chronic conditions) should get a flu shot.
I understand that a very bad flu could take a lot out of a person with diabetes...and I even understand how it could force someone into ketoacidosis, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was getting pressured into the flu shot. As if my doc had a bunch in the back she was dying to get rid of.
Anyone have any insight or feelings about this?
I told her that I had to think about the flu shot and we'd revisit the idea at my next appointment.
I have to admit I've never felt pressured about flu shots; it was always, "Take it or leave it but I suggest it's a good idea." (Warning: this posting turns into a rant at the end.)
That's not the case with thyroid medication and statins though: my family doctor (UK: GP) who I respect greatly, was continously on at me for about 2 years to take statins. Eventually I gave in and did, then gave up when my blood sugars began to become out of control.
Likewise I once went to a diabetic specialist round here (southern Oregon; real rural America with all the bad and good things that this implies.) He was overweight and declared that I was at risk of some or other thyroid problem; I should take medication.
I couldn't take him seriously anyway (for the obvious reason) but he was very assertive; I felt very pressured. Of couse I never went there again, indeed, I've avoided Southern Oregon diabetic specialists since; I don't think it was his fault, he was just in this environment where he ended up with his two distinct problems.
I think it's an endemic problem in US healtcare and it is compounded with the traditional European "doctor" problem; doctors are taught to know best. The intelligent ones (and I certainly number my family doctor amongst them) learn that preaching is best left to preachers, but the rest become frustrated and increasingly impotent as they attempt to impose their view of what we, the patient patients, should do, upon us. Add to this the exigencies of making the amount of money the medical school told you you could make when they sold you the loan, and the persistent petulant pestering of the purveyors of expensive patented drugs...
We just keep saying no; we don't have the freedom, in the US, to say "stop". That's not an option here.
John Bowler email@example.com
Your phrase sums it up succinctly "persistent petulant pestering of the purveyors of expensive patented drugs" - may I borrow it? The medical schools apparently receive much of their funding from pharmaceutical companies, so even if doctors don't personally profit from the prescriptions, many have the perspective, when in doubt, prescribe.
Shortly after I left the hospital, my blood work showed up LDL cholesterol of 110. She immediately prescribed statins for me, though my cholesterol had been lower than that prior to the diabetes. I "refused" it, and my subsequent blood test had the LDL down to 76, and HDL quite high. If I had accepted the drug, she would have attributed the improvement to the drug, but never acknowledged, since I did without it, that it was totally unnecessary for me.
It annoys me that I am offered so many procedures and prescriptions, mostly unnecessarily in my view, and yet others, who need them more, get nothing, as they are uninsured.
Feel free to use the phrase, or change it, or do whatever you want with it.
My statins experience mymics yours, but I think it's not just the drug company/doctor interaction. There is heavy investment in academic research; it's the research that drives the doctors to believe that things like statins are effective, because there is no evidence to the contrary. Researchers like positive results, so if you (or a drug company) asks the right question you tend to get the right answer; as you observed ;-)
John Bowler firstname.lastname@example.org
I've gotten a flu shot every year for as long as I can remember. I've gotten it because 1) I have diabetes and 2) I'm a health care provider. My reasons for following the standard and getting it are that I don't have time to get sick, and if there's a chance that it will hit me harder because of the diabetes I don't want to take that chance. More importantly, though, I don't want to get someone else sick. Health care professionals get the flu shot because they are constantly exposed to people with the flu and at risk for the flu. I think about elderly people or very young people I might come into contact with, and I would never want to cause them to get sick. Call me crazy, but having the flu shot on board really does make me feel protected.
I've never had the flu shot and have never really had an issue. Then again I'm not one prone to getting sick. I know many of my co-workers seem to be sick a lot, so I might encourage them to get one.
I do think the Walgreens and CVS must make a lot of money from them because they seem to promote coming in a getting a flu shot all year long.
Having read the posts so far, it appears that, like most everything else in life, opinions are formed from personal experience. Those who have been "pole-axed" by something called a "flu", tend to get a vaccine, and those who haven't, tend to take their chances. I would venture to say, it is a pretty subjective decision.
I am in the latter category. I haven't experienced colds or flu. Nor have I ever considered a flu vaccine. My understanding is that the vaccines are strain-specific; maybe that explains the folks who got the "flu" even after being vaccinated.
I don't trust injecting something into my body without long term double-blind scientific studies performed. Simply my subjective attitude. My docs haven't suggested it to me, but the pharmacy sure pushes it.
Some general tips Mike.
1. Just because 93.675% of people who don't get the flu shot say they don't get it because it gives you the flu, please read some actual facts about the flu shot first and how it works to help prevent you from getting the flu (it IS Dead virus).
2. If you think that your Dr is trying to give you something because they are trying to get rid of some extra stuff, get a new Dr. I would NEVER stay with a Dr that I did not trust (and I honestly believe that your Dr is trying to help you).
In 1990, I was on a trip through the south (mostly Tenn.) and I came down with the flu. Since this was a driving trip, I was miserable. I actually ran out of insulin trying to keep my blood sugars under control (and I had brought more than enough for my trip).
From that point on, I have received the flu shot every year. I have gotten the flu, but it has lasted at most 3 days and been nothing but some sore throat, a little fever and congestion AND that has only been 3 times since I started getting the flu shot. Many (MANY) of my family and friends still say to me that flu shots give you the flu and I laugh at them every year when they get sick for 2 or more weeks (privately of course... I'm not that cruel). Who knows, maybe in 20 years IF I grow a third eye or extra finger from these flu shots, they will be able to laugh at me... but I highly doubt that.
Either way, it's up to you Mike. Just don't let people with little or no actual knowledge about the true efficacy of a flu shot guide you.
All the best.
My endocrinologist has been pushing me to get a flu shot since I've been going to her which is about 10 years now. I've always said no, it is MY choice not hers.
I get the flu shots for precautionary measures, as I also have asthma (2 chronic ouchies for the price of one lol)...as well, I try to stay on top of of it by getting pneumonia shots, unfortunately, I still manage to get pneumonia every year. Would it be worse if I DIDN'T get the shots?? Are the shots a waste of time?? Who knows!
I completely get that it. Before my freshmen year of college my doctor told me I needed to get it but I said I didn't really want to. After moving into the dorms it didn't take long for me to get sick, and stay sick. Overall I was probably sick for 65% of the semester, and for about half of that I was laying in bed feeling as if I was going to die. Second semester wasn't so bad, I think I was only sick about two weeks. But this summer I had a new doctor, and he also told me I should get it, I said I had some doubts and wasn't sure about getting it but he basically forced me to because next thing I knew the nurse was sticking the needle in my arm. I didn't get sick this semester but I still feel like the doctor didn't give me a choice. So make sure it's your decision if you want to get it.
Aside from whether a flu shot is a good thing for you or not, there is no way you shoueverfeel your doctor is forcing you to do something!
I have a better shot at making the point on the crap table than getting the correct flu vacine, But concider the pnuemonia shot.