In the midst of another epic flu season I am provided with opportunities to have some interesting conversations with the patients who present to our clinic. One of the most prevalent conversations that I have is regarding Flu Vaccines. Let me clarify, I did not get a Flu Vaccine this year, admittedly by accident as I simply forgot. However, I am not a pusher of the vaccine, I figure if you don’t want one, fine, don’t get one. With all the exposure to the flu that I get in a year it is only a matter of time until I contract the flu and spend 2-3 days in fevered agony. The upshot for me is that I don’t have diabetes, asthma or an otherwise impaired immune system.
When I am seeing a patient, who I suspect has the Flu, one of my first screening questions is ‘did you have a flu shot.’ This is where things can get interesting. The variety of answers I get from this simple yes/no question are astounding.
Recently, I have had several patients who are current smoker respond thusly ‘ I don’t/won’t get a flu vaccine, because I don’t want to put something in my body that may hurt me or do something negative to my health.’ My only thought is ‘Wow, really?’ This thought is silent and to myself.
Now, I am not gonna get into the health or hazards of either smoking or getting a flu vaccine and further I am not going to claim that I am without the occasional lapse in good judgement.
So, perhaps this post is just a pointless rant from a pointless guy in a pointless profession. It just never ceases to amaze me how silly we can be as a species and how sure we can be that our beliefs are true.
All the Best,
PS: My approach to these patients is gentle. I don’t ever berate or take a condescending tone. After all, its our lives to live. I can only try to live mine well and hopefully be an example to others. That, for me, is one of the greatest gifts.