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Thread: Contagious disease and immunizations

  1. #1
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    Contagious disease and immunizations

    Spurred by another thread in Families...

    It seems to me that our society places way too much emphasis on immunizations as a means of disease control, to the point of ignoring other things that work very well, such as hand washing, and staying home when sick [Don't spread it, rest and get well].

    One of several reasons, I retired from classroom teaching last year was because the district decided the way to deal with not having enough substitute teachers in January and February* every year was to require every classroom teacher to line up for flu shots (this year). I was determined Not to do it. The one time I got a flu shot I had a terrible allergic reaction that lasted about 2 weeks. Then, to add insult to injury, I got the flu, for the first time in several years AND I was the sickest I have ever been in my life!

    Three years ago I taught in a school where the secretary was adamant that no child was coming in sick. And the entire staff helped, if a child began showing any symptoms, they were sent home. AND we all enforced hand washing- first thing in the morning, after recess, before lunch, after lunch. Yes, took a few minutes for 32 kids to wash their hands in the classroom- but NOBODY got sick, we did not have a "flu season" in our school of 1176 kids.

    When our union reps brought forth our statistics, as the district was taking the mandatory teacher vaccination initiative to the school board, the reps were told not to speak! The district said, "That is a simplistic solution to a complex problem."

    Whatever. It worked and was replicated in that school the following year.
    But now the teachers are vaccinated against flu yearly if they want to keep their jobs.

    But, and here is my point again- vaccination is only part of the solution, not The Solution.

    ------------------------------------
    * Part of the "complex problem" was that they routinely used substitutes in the high schools until Jan. when they officially hired them, effectively taking them out of the Sub Pool. The statistics game- showed a lack of subs on paper, when really, they hired them to avoid being out of compliance with the state after 80 school days. Saved a lot of money, subs get paid $100/day = $18,000 a year if they work every single day; no benefits, not eligible to join the union, so no representation, can simply tell them not to come back the next day for any or no reason.

  2. #2
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    Research supports both flu shots and hand washing. Why not take advantage of both? More people died of the Spanish flu than during the entirety of WW1 in battle.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I dispute your initial premise.

    Then again, I am the “clipboard guy” on our region’s Infectious Disease Response Team, responsible for handling Ebola and other fun things, while wearing cool suits. (This means I observe our operations in the hot zone like a hawk, and flag any violations of protocol, while never touching a patient myself...) So I am hampered in my understanding of such things by an excess of data and science.

  4. #4
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    I believe in the older proven vaccines, but the flu vaccine might only be 10% effective in any given year, so the handwashing is great.

  5. #5
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    Washing hands is good, but what if someone is contagious but not symptomatic and coughs a few times?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    I think in the coming 2 or 3 decades infectious disease if going to come back with wild vengeance.
    “I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  7. #7
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    I wash my hands and get my shots. All of them. I get that you had an allergic reaction, so for you the flu shot may be a no-no.

    Few people work in such a tightly controlled environment! Most work in places where people do come in sick. People are often infectious before they show symptoms. I use public transit, and people who are clearly sick are coughing and sneezing all over the place. Many let rip with no attempt to contain the spray. Cashiers may be ill - and they’re handling the groceries! I get books from the library - what might they be carrying?

    I’ve had pneumonia following flu - twice. Both times I hadn’t had the flu shot. I would prefer never to get pneumonia again. It hurts like hell and takes weeks to recover from. If the shot reduces my risk by 20%, on top of my standard practices, those odds are good enough for me.

  8. #8
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    In addition to the 10 to 70% effectiveness rate in prevening the flu in any given year, the flu vaccine diminish symptoms in the rest of the population where the shot wasn’t entirely effective. Anything that diminishes illness is good.

  9. #9
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    I practice good hygiene but do not get the flu shot. When I was exposed to dried blood at work they wanted me to get the series of Hep b vaccines. I took one and had a bad reaction and said no to the rest. I had a friend with lifetime immune disorders from getting her first flu shot at 18. I was considering getting the shingles vaccine because my DH had shingles and it is very painful but I am allergic to one of the ingredients. I get the flu about once every 10 years. A good friend of mine got the flu this year after having the shot and was very sick. I got the flu after her and didn't get as sick despite being 10 years older and having chronic health conditions that she did not have.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    At this point, I'm willing to leave it up to my (heretofore perfectly functional) natural immune system. Vaccines seem to be safe for most people (tough for you if you're the exception), but they're not the panaceas there touted to be.

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