I want to preface this by saying we are a vaccinating family: that is something I have thought long and hard about and I’m absolutely happy with my decision. I stopped engaging in conversations about whether or not I should be a vaccination mum a long time ago. All my children are up to date with their pre age 12 inoculations.
Recently the 3 asthmatics in the family had the nasal flu spray. It isn’t something we have done before, because while the above applies, I’m wasn’t a massive fan of holding them down to inject something into them that I considered an optional extra vaccination rather than an essential one.
My views on this started to change a year or two back when Bene had bronchiolitis. It was stunning to watch him go down hill so fast with something respiratory and despite the fact that I already knew from personal experience that a chest infection can be fatal, I found it profoundly upsetting to be so helpless in the face of something that had only limited treatment. Again. And then last winter the entire family succumbed to Norovirus; in a large family it is nearly impossible to stop something that infectious spreading like wild fire and we were just all so ill despite my best efforts to clean hands and keep our germs to ourselves. Once both adults were down, it was nearly impossible to keep the household running and as most of our yearly profits rely on a good Xmas shopping period, being ill at that time of the year is devastating.
So those are some of the reasons that this year, in the effort to prevent the family being sideswiped by flu, I took 3 of them for the spray. I can’t really afford to do us all privately but protecting Fran, Amelie and Bene reduces the risk by a margin. I appreciate it is ONLY a margin and far from complete protection but it helps me feel I’ve done what I can. As a family exposed daily to 5 different school and work environments, I’ve done something to try and reduce the germs coming home. For me, as a mother who lives with the reality of wishing I had done something differently, that is important.
And there is my one other reason. I know, though it will never be proved, that getting flu while I was pregnant with Freddie probably caused the problems that made him so ill equipped to deal with being born. I know that it was during that period that he lost tone and responsiveness and I was ill for the rest of my pregnancy with the after effects. It was the year of swine flu and I was ill the week before the vaccine was offered to pregnant women. I don’t know if I would have done it then but I know now that I wish the person who passed on that bout to me hadn’t done so. And so I can try to avoid being the family that do the same to some other pregnant woman.
If you are passionately anti vaccine, this won’t convince you of anything of course but if you didn’t know that 2, 3, 4 year olds and ‘at risk of poor health’ children can now have the spray version, do take the time to consider it. The video below, hosted by the (gorgeously funny and ridiculously daft at times) Dr Ranj, gives an insight into how germs spread and his opinion as a health educator and professional on why children should have the vaccine. You can find out more about the programme at the Share Good Times Not Flu website too. And of course, take the time to read around the subject until you feel fully informed from all angles.
In association with the website mentioned in the article. Words and opinions are my own.