I know that anecdotes are not science. Just because you know two people who know two other people who have had something happen to them doesn’t mean it is science. When the anecdotes don’t agree with your own world view it’s pretty easy to refute them. But when it happens to you, it’s a little harder.
For many years I didn’t get a flu shot because they were made with thimerosal as a preservative and I’m sensitive to that. Then about 8 years ago, they started making the shots without the preservative so I signed up at work and got the shot. A month later I was as sick as a dog; since I’d had the flu shot I was sure I had food poisoning and that was when I got a lesson in flu coverage by my doctor. The flu shot is an educated guess about what will be coming around each flu season; sometimes they work, sometimes they miss the mark. But the memory of being that sick made me hesitant to get a flu shot again.
Fast forward to last spring when I had pneumonia (ick). My doctor told me that the flu shot would be a helpful preventative against pneumonia so I dutifully got the shot this year.
You know where this is going, right? As I sat in Urgent Care yesterday with chills so bad I could hardly drive and a temperature over 103, the doctor (of course) asked me if I had gotten a flu shot this year. I said “yes, and a lot of good it’s done me”. She repeated to me that every now and then the current flu serum for the year really doesn’t help that year’s flu strain at all. This is one of those years. And apparently 8 years ago was one of those years as well.
I understand that this is a complete coincidence that both years I got the flu shot were the only two years that I’ve gotten the flu in the last couple of decades. My brain knows that getting the flu shot didn’t really give me the flu…. but just the same, my hearts thinks it’s going to be really hard for me to go get that shot next year!
Has your brain ever disagreed with your heart?