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Re: [IP] My nasty flu shot! (Immunology 101)


Some people do get sick (often with the flu!) shortly after taking the flu
vaccine.  It's a natural reaction to assume, particularly when you're
miserably trying to survive the flu, that you got it from the flu shot.

Fortunately, this is not the case, however.  It is in fact not possible to
get the flu from a flu shot, because the flu vaccine contains NO live
influenza virii.  What can happen, however is this:

1) You get your flu shot.
2) Your body thinks that it is being invaded by flu virii (3 different
types!), and your immune system mounts an all-out attack on the 'invaders'.
This, of course, is exactly the response that a vaccine of any type is
supposed to elicit.
3) You get exposed to a REAL virus (or other pathogen).  Your immune system
is so busy dealing with the 'fake' attack (from the flu shot), that it
doesn't have enough 'reserves' to properly handle this new REAL attack.
4) As a result, you end up sick with whatever you were exposed to in step 3.
It's entirely possible that if you had NOT taken the flu shot, you wouldn't
have fallen prey to this new virus, because your immune system wouldn't have
been so preoccupied.

Luckily, most of the time your immune system is able to deal with the flu
shot and get itself back to normal before you get exposed to anything else
ugly.  As a result, your immune system now has a pretty good chance of
fighting off any exposure to the potentially DEADLY forms of influenza that
the flu vaccine covers.

I got the flu really bad 10 years ago, and ended up hospitalized (due to
dehydration) as a result.  I've gotten the flu shot every year since then,
and have managed to steer clear of the flu completely.  The worst thing I've
come down with within two weeks of getting my flu shot is a bad cold, and
that has only happened once.

One thing I'd recommend for anyone getting a flu shot is to try to arrange
your schedule so that you're not traveling (or entertaining guests,
particularly from out-of-state) within two weeks after getting your shot.
That way, you minimize possible exposure to new, unfamiliar pathogens while
your immune system is particularly busy.

If you're interested in a real quick (1-page) description of the immune
system, try this link: http://www.sullivans4health.com/pmmyis.html.

> -----Original Message-----
> Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 00:46:35 EST
> From: email @ redacted
> Subject: Re: [IP] My nasty flu shot!
> Just an FYI to all.  I posted about a week ago that I had 
> gotten flu shots 
> every year with no problems.  I TAKE IT ALL BACK. 
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