I became very curious to see what could have been possibly worse about these really serious flus, which the internet resources confirm that I do not have. With my milder flu, they tell me I am at higher risk of death from it because I am elderly plus worldwide several hundred thousand people per year die of the flu. It sounds increasingly stupid of me to have skipped the shot.
Had I had a serious flu, I further read, like the 1918 one, I could have easily joined the twenty to fifty million people who died in it. The 1918 flu caused more deaths than all the four years of the black death by the bubonic plague combined. 675,000 Americans died of it including half of the American servicemen in WWI. The enemy was only responsible for half of the death toll.
This 1918 flu killed rapidly, many people died within hours of getting the symptoms while others lasted a full day. Some people played bridge with one another one night, for example, and three out of the four of them got the flu during the night and were dead by morning. It was that virulent.
This flu particularly went for the victim's respiratory system. An especially viscous pneumonia was an early characteristic. Plus the lips turned purple, the face grey and the victim began to suffocate in his own fluids, becoming cyanotic. A blood tinged froth gushed out of the victim's mouth and nose.
Unusually this flu killed healthy adults far more than the elderly and new born because the immune system overreacted. Older and newborn people have weaker immune systems which were incapable of overreacting.
My online research also showed that this flu season yielded great controversy over whether to get the flu shot. Many were skeptical about its worth. I have only my experience to fall back on: when I get the flu shot, I don't get the flu. That is enough for me to get another shot next year. Some of the flu shot critics suggest I take elderberry extract or Vitamin D instead. This was not the first time I had been given similar advice.
Back in 2007 when I was undergoing severe chemo, I was told in the chemo room that elderberry wine could alleviate the potentially lethal diarrhea side effect. There is a lot of folk lore traded in such places. I enjoyed the elderberry wine while I also researched in an online library medical database about the then worldwide research on this issue. I did not turn up elderberry wine as the panacea but I did unearth that internationally there was a medical dispute over the issue.
The Canadians gave their cancer patients anti diarrhea shots while in this fix while the Americans did not. The results worldwide favored the Canadians but the Americans stood fast on not using the shots. I marched off to my Cancer Center and demanded the Canadian shots. I got them and problem solved. I never had another moment's problem with diarrhea in chemo.
I resumed my flu reading online. Then, God help us, I learned that there is actually a cadre of people known as flu vaccine conspiracy theorists. What gave this cadre forward movement is that in 2012 the CDC did have one of its scientists commit research fraud during a trial for the swine flu of 2009. He was only suspended for four months rather than fired which is hard to understand. The conspiracy theorists also claim that the CDC greatly inflates its data when it is released to the public. This is a surprise? Do I need to say WMD? At the end of reading all of the alleged conspiracies though, the only thing everyone could agree upon was the most virulent aspect to the 2013-2014 flu and flu shot season was the controversy surrounding it.
I still will take the shot over the way I am feeling tonight. I have written this while sleeping on and off most of the day. I still hurt. I still am on too good terms with the toilet. I am hoping my respiratory system ignores the whole thing. Thus, I have not read anything yet which makes me feel any less foolish for having skipped this year's vaccine shot.