Usually we get our flu shots in late August or September, but this year Max had a cold with a fever during our annual allergist visit, so we postponed it a few weeks.
Both of my kids are allergic to eggs, but we dutifully get our flu shots every year.
I have asthma and a flu shot is one of my regular tools to avoid extra trouble in the fall. Before the flu shot became routine, I remember being laid out sick when I was a teenager. It was miserable, sitting up in bed breathing hard, trying to catch my breath.
When the kiddos were born, I always figured they too would get a flu shot when they were old enough to do so. But then, Mo on her second exposure to eggs at 8 months, reacted with swollen eyes, hives, and frantic sneezing.
When that autumn rolled around, I had a moment of doubt on what to do – do we avoid the flu shot or do we risk it?
Gratefully, we had a wonderful pediatrician who recommended the shot and monitored us for thirty minutes in the office per the CDC guidelines.
Two years later with Max, I had another moment of hesitation since his reaction to eggs was way more severe with vomiting.
But, we went ahead with the recommendations again, and got the shot in office because as much as the flu shot scared me, I was much more afraid of him having a severe and sudden asthma episode.
One of the hardest parts of being an allergy parent is trying to weigh perceived risk – I have gotten the flu shot for over a decade, my daughter has gotten the flu shot with no trouble, and I know that most folks with an egg allergy don’t have any adverse reactions, but I know that even with the facts, risk can feel so much more amplified.
So, our solution was to take precautions.
1)We get the flu shot in our doctor’s or allergist’s office.
2) We asked to be monitored for a half an hour (I always bring extra books).
3) We always get the shot early in the week so that if there are any questions later, I know I can get ahold of someone in the office.
And this has worked for us.
I also have heard stories from one or two allergy kids who did have a response to the flu vaccine. Even though that is a rare event, it does happen which is why I recommend getting the shot under a medical provider’s observation with access to epinephrine.
And if anyone has had a reaction, I’m only too glad to get a flu shot to help protect them through herd immunity. It’s what I would want other families to do for my kid if he wasn’t able to get the flu shot.
Have you gotten your flu shot yet?