Shoo the Flu
It's that time of year again. The dreaded "influenza" is back to wreak havoc on the health of millions of Americans. As healthcare professionals, we're going to be on the front lines, working daily with people who have the flu (whether they're aware of it or not). Since I began working at my hospital, I've treated a number of patients with the flu, including some more dangerous strains (you'll recall the H1N1 strain that was around a few years ago).
Now, I have to admit something: I have never had a flu shot. Our hospital offers them free to employees, but I've never gotten it. In my defense, since I started working at my hospital, I've also never had the flu. I haven't been to a doctor in about three years, and the most sick I've been has been a mild sinus infection. When I see patients who have the flu in the hospital, I obviously use whatever personal protective attire is required (for our hospital, it usually consists of an isolation gown, gloves and a mask), as well as ensure my hand hygiene is being attended to properly.
My logic has always been this: I don't like putting things in my body that aren't supposed to be there. I obviously know how vaccinations work and that our hospital uses an inactivated vaccine, so the risk of getting the flu from the vaccine is negligible. But the fact still remains, I'd be putting stuff into my body that doesn't belong there.
Our hospital doesn't require employees to get the flu vaccines, but it is, of course, highly recommended. I'm leaning toward not getting it again this year. Unless someone can provide me with compelling evidence to sway my opinions. What are your thoughts on the flu vaccines? Are you required to get the vaccine for work? If so, what are the repercussions if you choose not to get it?