Getting Stuck for a Sticker: Reasons to Get Vaccines

Sticker from the pediatrician Advancing in Age

I'm in an odd state of excitement and denial. I can't believe I have a child about to go to Kindergarten. I'm thrilled for him because he is so excited about the prospect of entering school, but I'm a little scared of starting the whole school cycle. I'm not looking forward to school bullies or being restricted by school year schedules or parent teacher conferences (I always hated those when I was the student too. I always imagined the worst), etc, but I am looking forward to Darling 1 meeting friends and learning new and exciting things through hands-on experiments at his charter school.

I keep looking at my "baby" and wondering where my "little peanut" went. He is so big, tall and mature, yet still so young and vulnerable too. I recently called to make Darling 1's 5 Year-Old Well Check appointment with his pediatrician. Darling 1 was standing there when I made the appointment over the phone. When I got off the phone, he said, "But that means I'll have to get a shot, and I don't like shots!"

Reasons to Get Stuck

This is true. He doesn't like a shot, but who does? And yet, we all endure the quick jab, the immediate temporary pain and eventual muscle pain that dissipates within a few days all for the sake of keeping illnesses at bay. I explained all this to him, and then promised him a fruit smoothie from Jamba Juice after the appointment.

Here are the top ten reasons to get vaccines, as an adult or a child:

  1. You will feel good about doing your part to stop the spread of potentially deadly illnesses;
  2. You don't have to worry about getting lockjaw (Tetanus) when you step on a rusty nail or get bitten by a cat (cats carry Tetanus in their intestines); which can happen at any age;
  3. The flu is NOT fun; and it could be deadly for a person of any age;
  4. It's the law if you intend to send your child to school or daycare;
  5. You and your family can travel to other countries without worrying about contracting diseases that may not be so rare there;
  6. You can milk the muscle pain side effect and get out of getting up with the baby or changing a diaper or dealing with a temper tantrum (at least for one day and night);
  7. You won't be up nights worrying that your child might somehow contract polio;
  8. Your child won't have unsightly chickenpox scars (of course, I'm kind of partial to mine);
  9. You won't use up all of your sick leave/vacation time (or your spouse's) on festering, puking, whining, miserable kids; maybe you can actually take an illness-free vacation; and
  10. You get a cool sticker (at least if you get a shot at a pediatrician's office).

Thinking of Myself (or Not)

I have been careful to ensure the Darlings have gotten their vaccines at the recommended times, including their yearly flu vaccines. I am not always so vigilant about my own health though. I meant to get a flu vaccine this past fall, but kept putting it off due to inconvenient timing and busy schedules. Time passed, and I put it out of my mind entirely; that is, until I came down with fever and chills and aches. Then, it dawned on me; I had the flu; I was the only person in my household who had not gotten a flu shot; and I was the only person in my household who got sick at all. I was miserable.

The Scoop

Many readers commented here, on Facebook and on Twitter about spacing out the vaccines better with child number 2 after their first child got so many early on. I have had the same experience with Darling 1 and Darling 2, but I also switched pediatricians when Darling 2 was a wee one. So, I wasn't sure if it was the difference between the two pediatricians or the current trend. Clearly, I was not alone in this. I do think it's better to space them out better, rather than to clump 4 or 5 in at one time.

My pediatrician looks at the options and weighs the necessity, age of my child and spacing of other doses when deciding on which ones, if any, should be given at a particular time. Do make sure to bring up any questions or concerns you have about the number or spacing of vaccines with your child's pediatrician. Never simply assume the doctor knows best. My opinion is that a parent's gut instinct counts for more than education and training; ask the questions and do the research. This is your child you're talking about.

So, suck it up and get it done. I know I won't be missing out on a flu shot again this year! Over and out...



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