First off, let me be clear: my wife and I believe in medicine and everyone in our home sees doctors regularly and takes medicine when necessary. But neither my wife nor I have ever gotten regular flu shots. In fact, the only time we received the flu shot was for H1N1 when my wife was pregnant with our first child.

Why? The main reason is that it simply wasn’t a part of our lives growing up. Our parents didn’t get the flu shot and, as children, we always stayed relatively healthy. Plus, we weren’t at any special risk of getting the flu. I grew up in the Northeast and, despite the frigid winters, my parents never put an emphasis on getting the flu shot.

Fast forward to today, and my wife and I focus more on doing the little things to keep our children healthy:

  • We ask our children to wash their hands often, remind them not to put their fingers in their mouths or touch other parts of their face, and we keep them on a regular sleep schedule. So far, so good.
  • We try our best to stay away from people who are sick.
  • We also make sure that our children are eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, and getting vitamins from juice, milk, yogurt, etc. 
  • We put a premium on drinking water.

Our pediatrician recommends the flu shot, but he also told us that our children should follow our lead on this important topic.

The Centers for Disease Control strongly recommends the flu shot and, after reading up on the flu, I have decided to again discuss with my wife the merits of the flu shot. Yet, the CDC admits that the flu shot doesn’t cover all strains of the flu and also says that it’s possible, albeit unlikely, that even with the vaccine, someone can get the strains of the flu that are covered.

A small risk of getting the flu still exists depsite getting the shot, however, the flu shot comes with risks of allergic or adverse reactions as well. These reactions are rare, but include inflammation of the joints, swelling at the injection site, and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

So my wife and I have eschewed the flu shot for ourselves and our kids. It simply hasn’t been something that we’ve worried about and either through luck or effort, or a combination of both, we’ve been able to avoid the flu.