I opened the window, and influenza!

By Phil Plait | September 17, 2009 6:46 pm

Just to let y’all know that we practice what we preach, Mrs. BA, The Little Astronomer, and I all got our flu shots today. So far no signs of autism, but the fetal tissue and mercury have made me a little bit drowsy.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, Humor
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Comments (65)

  1. Hypatia

    Well, I wish that vaccine soon be available in my country…

    So, inked and vaccined in one week… no wonder why you feel drowsy!!

  2. jest

    I’ve always wondered if there was any truth to those who claim they got sick right after getting a flu shot? It has never happened to me, so is it mere coincidence? Or do some people react differently than others?

  3. @jest – its mostly coincidence by statistics.

    given enough people getting vaccinations, there will be a portion of people who are sick with something shortly after receiving said vaccinations – then apply a little ‘post hoc ergo proctor hoc’ and you get people blaming the vaccination.

    what makes it worse is that most of those people who get sick ‘after a vaccine’ are confusing what is likely the common cold for ‘flu, because most people don’t realise that a cold can wipe you out for a day or two.

    Of course, there will always be a small number of people who really do get symptomatic from the vaccine that they have been given – but this is much smaller than the number of people who get sick ‘after having a vaccination’

  4. jest

    Ah. I figured that it needed to be said on here because I often see the “catalyst” (being that some people claim they got sick after getting the flu) is not mentioned and the pros and cons argue their sides, ignoring the reason why some people refuse to get their shot.

    I’m pro-vaccine.

  5. Zucchi

    Thanks for the reminder; I’ll get mine tomorrow.

    In more pleasant news, check this out: http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/space/09/16/new.rocky.planet/index.html

    The first confirmation of an extrasolar rocky planet!

  6. dustycrickets

    “Love flies out the door when money comes innuendo……”

    Monkey Business (1931)

    Love Groucho.

  7. tacitus

    Well, I’ve been on a right-wing Christian message board, quoted all the facts, the statistical difference between the risks of the vaccine and the risks if you get the flu, and it doesn’t seem to make an ounce of different.

    In fact, if anything, it makes people even more defensive and obstinate — after all, nobody likes to be told that you’re dead wrong.

    There were two intertwined arguments against taking the vaccine. The first was the standard “I don’t trust the government, especially when it’s being run by the communists” nonsense, and the other was the apocalyptic fear that the rumors of the government forcing people to take the vaccine were the sign of the “End Times”.

    Interestingly, since posting rebuttals of both those arguments—the standard response to “End Times” is simply to point out the billions of people who have died waiting for it, and you are much more likely die of natural causes (including the flu) anyway—the reaction isn’t to prolong the debate with responses of their own it’s just “well I’m not going to take the flu vaccine and nor are my kids, (so there!)”. End of discussion.

    I think what lies behind their refusal is, yes, some of the fears listed above, but there’s more than that. As I have mention before, I think there’s a lot to the idea that people just don’t want to do something overtly (i.e. take the vaccine) that might result in hurting them or their kids. They believe (incorrectly) that they can be just as safe washing hands and avoiding close contact, but if they get the flu then well, that’s just chance, and not anything they did specifically to hurt anyone.

    The bad news is that these people will likely be the ones who go to school and work while they are sick and end up infecting, hurting, and even killing others around them. I tried my best, but I short of the H1N1 virus taking a really nasty turn, I doubt there is anything that can be done to convince them.

  8. Crux Australis

    I’ll have what Phil’s having…

  9. bad Jim

    I got my first ever flu shot yesterday, and my arm is still a little sore. I don’t think I’m personally at risk, since I never seem to get knocked flat by the flu, but Mike the Mad Biologist wrote “you are an ambulatory germ dispersal unit, so be responsible”, and I complied.

  10. Well, I am not allergic to anything in the shots that I know of, but I have gotten severely sick afterwards. These have been short term sicknesses with severe dehydration and vomiting. So is it coincidence? Could be, but it sure seemed like a cause and effect.

  11. Naomi

    Aw, man, flu shots. I didn’t get sick, but the localised pain was a bitch – couldn’t lift my arm up properly for a day or two. Same with the first Gardasil, although not as bad, and the other two were fine.

    Still! The day or two of achiness paid off – when every single member of my family, not one of whom got the yearly flu shot, ended up getting – SURPRISE! – influenza, I was the only one who stayed healthy!

    Downside, I was the one who had to look after everyone. Damn.

  12. Bigfoot

    My HMO is not making shots available until October 3rd, so I guess I have a couple of more weeks to live, provided the flu doesn’t kill me first!

  13. No pro-vaxxer is a hypocrite- I only wish more anti-vaxxers were.

    The rhetoric of antivax is just that- rhetoric. Convincing them that vaccines are safe is a feat comparable to convincing certain people that Obama is not a secret muslin in the service of satin trying to start a velvet revolution. My parents got me vaccinated early and didn’t hesitate to embrace new vaccines for their other kids. If the anti-vaxxers are so happy with anecdotal evidence, let me point out that none of us developed a developmental disorder. Contrast this with my brother- who got shingles at thirteen, having never gotten the chickenpox vaccine which came out a few years after he had contracted the illness (and gave it to me).

    I’ve always seen the necessity and usefulness of vaccine, but I haven’t gotten vaccines for the flu till recently. I’ve simply been able to shake off the flu all my life and never considered it a big enough deal to shell out the $20-$30 to get it (not everyone has insurance dontcha know), but a few years ago I had such a despicable evil case of it that I swore I’d get a flu shot from then onwards. I still get colds every now and again, but I’ve never had a case of flu since.

    I also got my tetanus booster a few years back before my “last flu”, when I accidentally sustained first and second degree burns on my foot by spilling a half gallon of boiling water I had made for soup… because I was sick with the flu! (I also had to show up for jury duty that week too.)

  14. Jammer

    I got mine today too!

  15. Blue Marmoset

    Since it’s timely, I throw in my two cents worth. Just had a physical two days ago at the end of which I was recommended both flu and tetanus/pertussis shots, to which offered one arm each. After this I didn’t get a lollipop, but instead had get poked again for cholesterol test. Whole thing left me feeling like a pin-cushion. I felt a bit ill that day and the next, but okay now. I’ll take that over getting the flu any day of the week. By the way I have not had the flu – so far as I know – since I’ve been getting the shot for the past 5 years.

    I was a bit surprised about the pertussis. Doc said since I hadn’t had it since I was a tyke my immunity was probably non-existent. I’d had tetanus in 2004 but since pertussis came in the same shot I’d get it again. I guess I hadn’t known they’d started including pertussis in with the tetanus.

  16. Egaeus

    My father’s employer offered flu vaccines to their employees about 10 or so years ago, and they had severe shortages for a few days due to people getting sick. My dad was ill as well, but he went in anyway. They even bought pizza for the people who showed up, it was so bad. Something made most of the employees sick.

    I’ve personally only had one flu shot (last year), but I only felt slightly ill that day with aches. The next day, I actually felt better than normal.

  17. JeffS

    The reason people feel aches and possibly get a fever after a flu shot is beacuse the inactive virus triggers an immune response in your body. That’s what starts building up your antibodies so you won’t get the real thing. So, if you hear someone say they got the flu from their flu shot, all it really means is that they probably just felt like they did for a day or two.

  18. alfaniner

    As an older, healthy adult, I considered not getting a flu shot this year, to save one more for those who need it.

    Then I remembered, I teach kids.

    ’nuff said.

  19. Pat Montana

    Here’s my 2 cents…

    1) I am a FIRM believer in childhood vaccinations! They save millions of lives and there is no valid argument against that. FACT! End of discussion.

    2) I firmly believe the human immune system is like a muscle. If you let it work like it it supposed to it gets stronger and stronger. If you take away everything it does with meds (let me be clear…I am referring to meds that treat symptoms, not vax) it will atrophy away until it’s not there when you need it most.

    I am not advocating alt-med or anything like it, I am simply discouraging the impulse to run willy-nilly to CVS or Walgreens every time you think you have “a bit of a cold”. Let your body do what it was designed to do…fight off infection and “learn” a defense for it. In other words…”Cowboy Up” and suffer through it! You will be better off in the long run. I should note that I am referring to “common colds” and other minor illnesses. It should be obvious that I am in full support of seeking professional medical advice if you feel you have a serious condition.

    I realize the influenza virus mutates extremely rapidly and it is virtually impossible to be immune from every strain. I DO believe however that it is beneficial to let your immune system work on it’s own as much as possible.

    That being said…I think the flu vax is much more beneficial to those “willy nillies” who run to the pharm every time they feel bad than it is to those people who “live with it” while their colds (not flu!) run their course. Strong immune systems fight the flu better than weak ones. I DO realize that cold and flu are two different things…that doesn’t mean letting your body deal with a cold on it’s own doesn’t make your immune system stronger.

    Bottom line…I don’t get the flu vax. Haven’t had the flu in 15 years despite repeated exposure. Is that evidence…NO, it’s anecdotal…so don’t even start. But I treat my immune system like a muscle and let it work when it has to. I trust it to return the favor.

    Get you kids their Vax. Let them decide when they become adults!

  20. petrolonfire

    @ 5. tacitus :

    ..nobody likes to be told that you’re dead wrong.

    Hey, Tacitus, you’re dead wrong! 😉

    I’m sure there’s some folks who do. Masochists maybe? Or scientists having a theory falsified & thus ruled out? Or a detective trying to eliminate his favourite murder suspect and told that an alibi he thought was dodgy was really iron-clad after all?

    PS. Hey, BA, sure have been a whole lot of anti-vax posts lately. Not meaning to complain or anything, & I agree with you and all, but .. a little more variety would be good y’know. 😉

  21. llewelly

    What about the government mind-control chip, Phil? How’s it feel to be to be a cyborg under the control of 084m4 ?

  22. “I am a FIRM believer”

    Reality is not dependent on your beliefs.

  23. jest

    Regarding sore arms after the shot…

    I witnessed it with some of my co-workers at work. Some of them claiming to be the “tough guy” types, others, just not a fan of needles. I’m only speculating here, but when I get my shot, I simply look away and think of whatever, or read something on the wall. Those who told me they had sore arms also indicated they didn’t look forward to getting the needle. My thought on this is that when you tense up, you’re likely to come out of it with a sore arm. If you’re completely relaxed as I was, you’ll hardly notice it.

  24. Zucchi

    I’m a diabetic; really need to avoid the flu if I can. I’ve been on interferon therapy before, and remember getting flu-like symptoms every time I shot up; still a lot better than actual flu. (And after ten months of injecting myself in the stomach, I didn’t have much fear of needles left.)

    The anti-vaxxer stuff is basically a religious belief, like with the Confederate apologists. Not amenable to logic.

  25. Flying sardines

    @ 5 tacitus :

    Well, I’ve been on a right-wing Christian message board, quoted all the facts, the statistical difference between the risks of the vaccine and the risks if you get the flu, and it doesn’t seem to make an ounce of difference …. There were two intertwined arguments against taking the vaccine. The first was the standard “I don’t trust the government, especially when it’s being run by the communists” nonsense, and the other was the apocalyptic fear that the rumors of the government forcing people to take the vaccine were the sign of the “End Times”.

    So where in the Bible – written back in the bronze age before vaccinations were even invented – does it say anything like :

    “And ye shall not be vaccinated for this is God’s sign that the end is nigh & accepting vaccination is tantamount to having the sign of the Beasts & the Whore of Babylon?!”*

    Numbskulls.

    What a pack of thick-headed, dim-witted, pea-brained numbskulls those anti-vaxxer Wrong wing “christian” loons are. And that’s putting it politely.
    _____

    Given the choice I’d have The Sign of the Whore of Babylon over the Beasts 666 deal anyday. I’m sure its much sexier! 😉

    Mind you given ancient Babylon = modern Iraq & that Iraq equals Muslim and Muslim equals burka – hmm.. maybe not? How sexy can a whore in a burka be?

    (Show us ya .. ankles? Show us ya face? .. 😉 )

    But then again the whole Babylon = dead and forgotten culture might be a bit of a clue that thewhole Bible Prophecy thing is abit of a bust.

  26. Pat Montana

    @ The Chemist…

    You are correct…reality has nothing to do with beliefs.

    However it IS a fact that vaccinations save millions of lives a year.

    I CAN…and DO believe that is a reality…which is what I was trying to convey.

    Please treat my post with the intent it was posted…don’t try to twist it into an anti-vax statement when it was obviously not intended to be one.

  27. petrolonfire

    @ 17. llewelly Says:

    What about the government mind-control chip, Phil? How’s it feel to be to be a cyborg under the control of 084m4 ?

    Wow! Vaccines turn you into a cyborg!? Coo-ool! 😉

    Not only do the vaccines make you safe from feeling miserable for days and getting sick maybe even dying or worse making kids and babies really sick or even die too but they also even turn you into something like robocop or the Terminator! Awesome!

    I am *so* getting vaccinated now! 😉

    @ 25 Flying sardines says:

    How sexy can a whore in a burka be?

    Not so sure that the whore actually *stays* in her burka somehow! 😉

    And how unlikely is it that a sex worker from Baghdad (ancient babylon right?)will someday rule our whole planet eh? What are the odds?

    Symbolism or an ancient acid trip or suchlike?

    Nah man! You gotta take the Bible literally … if that is you’re as thick as post with the brains of a dodo.

    On the positive side I always figure theanti-vaxxer movement should just die a natural death sometime soon. Literally.

  28. tacitus

    But I treat my immune system like a muscle and let it work when it has to. I trust it to return the favor.

    Oh, more likely, you just got lucky. I haven’t had the flu in decades either, but I’m hardly the fittest or the most “immune system conscious” either. And my brother’s wife just got the flu, and a bad bout too, but neither he not the two kids, none of whom had their vaccinations yet, came down with it. Probably just a few precautions and a dose of dumb luck did the trick.

    As for not taking cold medicines and letting your immune system work it out, well, none of the cold meds does anything to fight the viruses anyway (except maybe that zinc stuff, marginally). All they do is alleviate the symptoms caused by the cold. Your immune system gets just as much of a work out whether or not you take the OTC meds — you just feel a lot crappier while it happens if you don”t take the meds.

  29. Jeremy

    @jest

    I don’t think one can actually get the flu from a non-live vaccine, but I have had flu symptoms in the immediate wake of a flu shot before. Specifically, a couple of hours after getting a flu shot (this was years ago, when I was a teenager) I came down with a mild fever and, oddly, some of the worst chills I’ve ever had in my life. It passed in maybe 8 hours, and I suspect it was simply an overreaction on my immune system’s part to a perceived threat, but that kind of thing does happen.

    It’s no reason not to get a flu shot, of course. And it’s worth mentioning that it’s only ever happened that one time.

  30. Pat Montana

    @ tactus….

    I disagree…when the OTC meds alleviate symptoms they trick your body into thinking it’s not as sick as it really is. You get aches, pains, and congestion not only as an immune response to fight the disease but to tell you you need fluids, rest, and nutrients so your body can fight back. If you mute these you ignore what your body is asking you to do and also tell your immune system to back off. Muting the symptoms is like stuffing a sock in the fire alarm. It’s a heck of a lot quieter but it doesn’t put the fire out and impedes the response.

    I don’t discount luck in the equation. You may be correct in that I “just got lucky”. I still contend that an immune system that is allowed to work on it’s own is better than one “aided” by OTC meds.

  31. Tim G

    I once knew someone named Enza.

  32. Pat Montana

    @ Tim G

    Well now we know who to blame…

    In flew Enza and we all got sick…

    LOL!

  33. tacitus

    Sorry, Pat, if there is evidence that typical OTC cold remedies are damaging to people’s immune systems, then it’s hiding out somewhere pretty well, because I can’t find it and none of the major sources of (reliable) health information bother to make any note of the issue at all. And there certainly does not seem to be any clinical trials that have found such problems (quite the opposite in fact).

    There are mounting concerns that young children should not be given these remedies as they could be linked with child fatalities (they don’t seem to work anyway), but that’s a different story — though it is, of course, an important one.

  34. @jest: FWIW, I sometimes get aches and pains the day after a flu shot. I’ve always assumed it’s my immune system ramping up. It doesn’t happen every year, and I certainly don’t think of it as getting sick. I wonder if some people do?

  35. jest

    @Naked Bunny: Well, you know how people in society can overreact to anything at all. If a person thinks something will happen, they’ll look for reasons to say it happened.

    But I suppose there are people out there whose bodies will react mildly to a vaccine. It’s just too bad that some of those people (unrelated to this forum) turn around and tell people they got seriously ill.. lol.

  36. padawanpooh

    Just got mine about an hour ago at my UK doctors’ surgery. Free, painless, and since I have asthma, essential.

    So far my arm aches a bit and erm..that’s all.

    I usually get a slight fever a couple of days after the jab but I can live with that. I know too many people who refuse to have the vaccine because they think it’ll make them sicker than the real flu. Reality says otherwise.

  37. bjm

    I hope everyone realizes that the swine flu vaccine will not be widely available until October. The flu shots available now are for the “regular” seasonal flu. That shot is as important as it is every year, but the swine flu shot should be taken also when it is available.

  38. shawmutt

    @Pat #19

    Most OTC cold and flu medicines act as little more than placebo when taken by the advice of Dr. Google or mom. OTC cold and flu medicines certainly do not have a negative impact on the health of the immune system. On the opposite side of the spectrum, OTC cold and flu medicines (including super doses of vitamins) also do not “boost” the immune system.

    In any case, as a person that works for the company that makes flu vaccine (and therefore is part of the conspiracy) it would be silly of me not to get my whole family vaccinated. I learn far too many scary things about the influenza virus to not get the vaccine.

    …And like a tricky optical illusion, the joke in the title finally came to me. Lesson learned–no blogs before my first cup of coffee.

  39. The shots aren’t available yet where I live, but I plan to get both the seasonal variety, AND the H1N1 variety.

    And again, gotta pimp the http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.html website. I know that Todd W. has updated his list with more information, and I will get around to updating this page. I am just incredibly busy with a move, buying a new house, getting sttled into a new job, etc. Don’t worry, soon I’ll be back to my chatty old self.

  40. Nigel Depledge

    Pat Montana (19) said:

    I realize the influenza virus mutates extremely rapidly and it is virtually impossible to be immune from every strain. I DO believe however that it is beneficial to let your immune system work on it’s own as much as possible.

    What on earth do you think a vaccine is?

    Vaccines confer immunity (or resistance, depending on lots of stuff) by exercising your immune system. To extend your analogy, being vaccinated is for your immune system what going to the gym is for your musculature.

    There is no benefit to letting your immune system work on its own, especially if there is a new virulent strain of flu around.

  41. addicted to bad

    Couldn’t jury duty be canceled if a doctor calls the Judge’s office and confirms you’re to sick to attend safely?
    I’ve never gotton the flu from the shot. The pain in the arm isn’t pleasent, but far better than being down for a week with the flu. Luckly my employer provides free flu shots. This is a pharmacutial packing company, so there are enclose rooms and a virus spreads quickly here.

  42. Nigel Depledge

    Pat Montana (30) said:

    I disagree…when the OTC meds alleviate symptoms they trick your body into thinking it’s not as sick as it really is.

    Please stop now. Your ignorance of human biology is making my head hurt.

    OTC meds such as paracetamol (acetaminophen or para-acetamidoyl phenol) do alleviate symptoms, and they do not “trick” your body into thinking / perceiving / believing anything. What they do (some of them) is interfere directly with your body’s reactions to the infection.

    So, for instance, the antipyretic properties of paracetamol arise through its inhibition of prostaglandin biosynthesis. In fact, all the NSAIDs act through inhibition of prostaglandin biosynthesis. Prostaglandins are involved in peripheral pain signalling, pyresis and the inflammatory response. This is why some NSAIDs are good analgesics; some are good anti-inflammatories and some are good anti-pyretics.

    However, not all of the body’s reactions to an infection are involved in fighting off that infection. For a long time, it was thought that fever was of benefit in fighting viral infections, but (if my understanding is correct) that view has been discredited. Some of these reactions (aka symptoms) are side-effects, and have no benefit other than to make you feel crappy. (As a consequence of which, you might make sure to keep warm, rest and eat high-energy foods, all of which might help your body to fight of a cold, for instance).

    You get aches, pains, and congestion not only as an immune response to fight the disease but to tell you you need fluids, rest, and nutrients so your body can fight back.

    No. Absolutely no.

    Aches, pains and congestion do not help you to fight off a virus.

    In fact, with flu, you tend to get most of the symptoms after your body has conquered the infection. Congestion, in particular, arises because the virus has already killed most of the ciliated epithelial cells that line your airway. Therefore, bronchial mucus does not gradually get moved up the airway to the entry of the oesophagus (which is what normnally happens). Instead it accumulates and must typically be coughed up.

    If you mute these you ignore what your body is asking you to do and also tell your immune system to back off.

    Do you have any evidence that NSAIDs (or other OTC meds) interfere with the immune response to an infection?

    Muting the symptoms is like stuffing a sock in the fire alarm. It’s a heck of a lot quieter but it doesn’t put the fire out and impedes the response.

    It is true that treating the symptoms does not change the infection in any way. However, I do not believe there to be a case to claim that such relatively mild formulations actually impede our immune responses.

    Of course, if you have actual evidence, you are welcome to prove me wrong.

  43. The “I’ll let my immune system do the heavy lifiting” argument with respect to H1N1 could prove fatal. Unlike most flu strains, this one (and the classic Spanish Flu of 1918) seemed to have a more devastating impact on the young and the folks who seemed healthy. Basically it triggered their strong immune systems to go into over-drive, and what killed them was their own immune systems, not the flu per se. I would seriously caution against any sort of over confidence in being a “healthy” individual. That may be your greatest risk.

    Just do yourself a favour and get the jab (or spray it up your nose depending on the availability of different forms in your area).

  44. @bad Jim,

    I’ve got to second what you said. I rarely get sick also. (Got about a month of sick time saved up because I only take 4-6 sick days per year.) However, my boys not only get sick, but have had febrile seizures due to their spiking fevers. Nothing’s scarier than seeing your little kid go unresponsive, turn blue and stop breathing while he convulses…. except maybe seeing him turn grey, stop breathing and not start back up on his own. (Little one just *HAD* to top his older brother, didn’t he?!!) Obviously, fevers are a big deal at our household and so the flu is a very scary illness to us. I’ll do anything I can to reduce the chances of my little ones getting the flu. A couple of needle jabs are nothing.

  45. Radwaste

    “…ambulatory germ dispersal unit…” – too pretentious. I prefer “self-propelled biohazard”.

    And since “regular” flu kills 30+ thousand a year in the USA, don’t dismiss it. Nicely done, Phil!

  46. To answer the “can I get the flu from the vaccine question”, simply put, no.

    AFAIU, just about every formulation of the flu vaccine uses a dead virus or just the important proteins that the body can recognize. What can happen is for you to develop some minor, temporary symptoms as a result of your immune system attacking the antigens in the vaccine. However, this is not “the flu”, since that would actually be an infestation of the virus, essentially, as it replicates and spreads through your body. Further, even though you might have flu-like symptoms, you are not contagious, whereas with “the flu”, you will be contagious anywhere from about two days before symptoms to a day or two after symptoms disappear.

    Dr. Joe Albietz and several others have written some very good articles over at Science-Based Medicine about influenza in general, the new H1N1 strain and vaccines. I highly recommend going there to read up and dispel some of the myths you may have heard.

  47. Michelle

    I wonder if my workplace will offer the vaccine this year… I know they offered it in the last couple years. If they offer it, I’ll take it. I’m not sure I’d hunt down vaccine clinics for it but if offered… Why the heck not!

    I don’t take it out of fear for swine flu, but out of “I hate the flu I hate it I hate it I don’T want it!”

    I find silly people that reply “the year I got flu vaccine was the year I was the sickest!!!”. I hear that all the time around here. The only problem I had was my arm being sore all day afterwards.

    But how much you wanna bet it’s my fault for hating needles and stressing out before the shot?

  48. Dan I

    My wife and I gotta go grab them from the school but I can’t get it until I have some free time afterwards. I always feel kinda crummy for a few hours afterwards, never a big deal but I’d prefer to not have to sit through a 75 minute lecture on Electronic Discovery & Data Seizure while also feeling like crap.

  49. dhtroy

    Phil,

    The shots you all received are obviously the ones filled with Nanobots, so the government can track your every move, listen to everything you say and watch you closely.

    Apparently, it was “too easy” to just follow your blog.

    :)

  50. @dhtroy

    The shots you all received are obviously the ones filled with Nanobots, so the government can track your every move, listen to everything you say and watch you closely.

    Don’t forget, to also ultimately kill him off. The reptilian illuminati overlords headed by Pres. Obama truly are very skilled at finding people.

  51. Hmm…looks like SBM is down. That’s not good.

  52. 51. Todd W. Says:

    Hmm…looks like SBM is down. That’s not good.

    Maybe it ‘got a bug’?

    J/P=?

  53. @John Paradox

    Apparently Dr. Novella is looking into the issue. One suspicion is that it might be a DDOS attack, which seems plausible. I’ve had trouble with pages not loading or taking a long time to load there for several days, now.

  54. BVStaples

    We all got ours in our household, and other than the extra heads starting to sprout from our necks, we’re all safe and sound.

  55. I’m going to avoid the flu — and everything else — by encasing myself in a cube of Lucite.

  56. @NBwaW

    I’m going to avoid the flu — and everything else — by encasing myself in a cube of Lucite.

    Will you be on display at any art museums?

  57. 55. Naked Bunny with a Whip Says:

    I’m going to avoid the flu — and everything else — by encasing myself in a cube of Lucite.

    Didn’t work for Gort….. turning to more serious:
    53. Todd W. Says:
    Apparently Dr. Novella is looking into the issue. One suspicion is that it might be a DDOS attack, which seems plausible. I’ve had trouble with pages not loading or taking a long time to load there for several days, now.

    Weird… here’s what I got:

    This Account Has Been Suspended

    If you are the owner of this website, please contact the billing/support department as soon as possible.

    !!!!!!!!!????

    J/P=?

  58. Eta C

    Just went & got my flu shot. My HMO started its flu shot clinic a week ago. Unlike past years, they aren’t reserving the first month for “critical” groups and have open walk in clinic for members through November. For me, there’s more pain in taking off the bandage from pulling out hair than there is from the shot itself.

  59. @John Paradox

    Weird… here’s what I got:

    This Account Has Been Suspended

    If you are the owner of this website, please contact the billing/support department as soon as possible.

    Yeah, that’s what I got this morning. Over on Respectful Insolence, Dr. Novella left a comment that they were investigating it. He said that it was having high traffic volume issues that appeared to be malicious.

  60. Gary

    My flu jab is arranged for the 3rd October. Been having these for over 10 years now and other than a sore upper arm and feeling a bit washed out for the day I have never had any complications.

    Better to “suffer” from the above than to get the flu!

  61. Sir Eccles

    May not be malicious. Think of the number of times you end up citing that website. Maybe it is finally getting through and people are reading it.

  62. Naomi

    jest @ 23,

    I’m not sure relaxation has much to do with it? I’m fine with needles – when I was sick a few years back, I was having a lot of blood tests, and after that, I was a regular blood donor – but I still got localised pain. Of course, it’s possible that the nurse jabbed it in at the wrong angle or something, but I was quite relaxed and it still ached afterwards.

  63. Travis

    I don’t think the arm pain is from a fear of needles. Last time I got my tetanus booster my arm hurt like you wouldn’t believe for a week (for two days I could barely lift it) and I’m totally cool with needles.

    I just checked with the only clinic in the area that will be giving out H1N1 shots (only to paying customers of course) and they won’t get any until the end of October and then they will only have about 50-75. That’s it. Everyone else (we’re talking about 50,000 people) will have to drive a hundred miles or more to get one.

  64. Buzz Parsec

    Our office manager emailed everyone this morning a link to a total woo site about H1N1 vaccine. I shot back a link to Steven Novella’s site (2nd thing returned by Google) after discovering the Science-based medicine site had been suspended (it was the 1st Google result.) BTW, it turned out she wasn’t trying to spread misinformation, she just thought it was hysterically funny because it was so stupid. I’m kind of a literalist sometimes …

    On a completely different topic, I think lots of people are misinterpreting what Pat is saying… It seems to me that he’s got 2 theories. 1) the immune system is like a muscle and needs to be exercised to keep it in shape. Not sure about this one at all. Vaccinations are a form of immune system exercise, which I think Pat would agree with, but so is being exposed to all the sundry pathogens everyone (except maybe Adrian Monk) gets exposed to every day. But I don’t know if all this exposure helps when you get infected with something novel, like H1N1. I guess one way to test this scientifically would be to see if people who have very limited exposure catch things more easily once they’re back to normal exposure. E.G., are astronauts returning from 6 months on the ISS more likely to catch colds in the first few weeks after returning to Earth? Or people returning from long stays in Antarctica or long sea voyages (around the Horn in the HMS Beagle, etc.)?

    Pat’s 2nd theory, which I also think is a little doubtful, is that people who take OTC cold medications are more likely to feel fine and not do the things they should be doing when sick, such as stay home, drink plenty of fluids, have chicken soup and just rest up. This makes it more likely that it will take longer to recover and they’ll have a much greater chance of spreading their germs all over the place. (But if they’re not coughing or sneezing, will they be less likely to spread the germs?) I think this theory is more likely than the 1st, but… Sounds like one of those medical folklore things that may or may not be true. Also, the best course of action would be to stay home, eat chicken soup (because it tastes good), watch TV (to make the brain go to sleep), and take all the cold meds just to feel better so you can enjoy your convalescence. :-)

  65. Marge

    Please don’t make fun of Autism. Phil, I have two kids with it. It is not fun. I am a constant time keeper for them in doing simple tasks. DAILY! If you could spend a day with a family with Autism, please do it. I’m glad you got your flu shots. And I am not an Anti-Vaxer. We got all our shots on time and no links were to Autism from them.

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