Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Perspective on the Flu Shot!

With flu season coming soon... You will start seeing signs in front of drug stores and everyone telling you that you need to get the flu shot... I listened to that one time too many and what I got at the same time as the flu shot was Guillian Barre Syndrome... I have the CIPD variant of it... I dread this time of year... Not because of the flu shot but because of those who have the flu and forget that there are things they can do to not spread the flu... There are many like me that can't take the flu shot because of an antibody that reacts with the live virus that is injected into us unsuspecting humans... But it is there waiting to raise it's ugly little head... So if you have the cold or flu... I would prefer to you to keep it to yourself... I'm not telling you to not get the flu shot... Everyone can decide for themselves... For me, there is no way... I ended up with GBS because of the flu shot...

One year I was a guest speaker at my daughters class at Dixie and she wanted to discuss how I got GBS and I picked one unsuspecting person out of the class room and introduced myself. He put his hand out to shake mine and I let him know that it was just that easy... There are simple things people can do to help not spread the flu or cold... And they don't... This is information that I got off of the CDC website...

Here is a brief description of Guillian Barre Syndrome...

Guillain-Barre (ghee-YA-buh-RAY) syndrome is a disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body. In its most severe form, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a medical emergency requiring hospitalization.

The cause of the weakness and paralysis of GBS is the loss of myelin, which is the material that coats nerve cells (the loss of myelin is called demyelination). Myelin is an insulating substance which is wrapped around nerves in the body, serving to speed conduction of nerve impulses. Without myelin, nerve conduction slows or stops. GBS has a short, severe course. It causes inflammation and destruction of the myelin sheath, and it disturbs multiple nerves. Therefore, it is considered an acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.

The reason for the destruction of myelin in GBS is unknown, although it is thought that the underlying problem is autoimmune in nature. An autoimmune disorder is one in which the body's immune system, trained to fight against such foreign invaders as viruses and bacteria, somehow becomes improperly programmed. The immune system becomes confused, and is not able to distinguish between foreign invaders and the body itself. Elements of the immune system are unleashed against areas of the body, resulting in damage and destruction. For some reason, in the case of GBS, the myelin sheath appears to become a target for the body's own immune system.

The first symptoms of GBS consist of muscle weakness (legs first, then arms, then face), accompanied by prickly, tingling sensations (paresthesias). Symptoms affect both sides of the body simultaneously, a characteristic that helps distinguish GBS from other causes of weakness and paresthesias. Normal reflexes are first diminished, then lost. The weakness eventually affects all the voluntary muscles, resulting in paralysis. When those muscles necessary for breathing become paralyzed, the patient must be placed on amechanical ventilator which takes over the function of breathing. This occurs about 30% of the time. Very severely ill GBS patients may have complications stemming from other nervous system abnormalities which can result in problems with fluid balance in the body, severely fluctuating blood pressure, and heart rhythm irregularities.

How Flu Spreads

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

(To avoid this, people should wash their hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.)

Click here if you want to read more from the Center for Disease Control

In Closing: When I read this, I think about working as a cashier and how many times people come into the store sick... In their hands they have flu medication... Their mouths aren't covered... They of course are resting their hands on the counter as they fill out their checks or signs the credit card receipts with the same pen every other customer signs with... Then before they leave, they decide they need to cough of sneeze... Everyone in front of them (Me) and everyone behind them all at that point becomes infected... I don't understand how people knowing that they are contagious still goes out in the public and feels it is necessary to share their flu with others... There are many people who have auto-immune diseases and that one lack of judgement could cost someone their life... We don't know what someone else may be fighting or if they have cancer... Can you even imagine knowing that by my stupidity and lack of regard for others that I could have killed someone? If you are sick enough to where you have to cough and sneeze all over those around you, why not call someone to pick up the medication... Wow, what a concept that would be... I know I am sarcastic over this... But wouldn't anyone be if they got the flu from someone who coughed and then you end up paralyzed for almost a year because they didn't have the common courtesy to stay home...

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