It's cold and flu season. My house is full of snot. We killed half of a case of facial tissue over the last three weeks, and will likely do it again before the month is over.

So, now I'm sitting here with my bulk bag full of chocolate rosettes (thank you, Credo Bags) and trying to decide whether we're all going to get flu vaccines this year.


We did it last year. Sort of. I had a rather pleasant morning busing across town to wait in line two hours for the fabled H1N1 shot, and then just couldn't be bothered to do it again for standard flu. It really was a nice morning. Not too cold. Hot coffee and a book. Pleasant conversations with my line mates. No kids doing handstands to get my attention....

Anyway, I feel like I should get the flu vaccine. I probably will. I have an obligation to the kids I care for to stay healthy, or at least not contribute to their already astounding capacity to make each other sick.

It's my kids I'm not sure about. Don't get me wrong. I'm not at all worried about thimerosol. We eat tuna and salmon with the knowledge that the mercury content in those is several times higher than that contained in a lifetime of vaccinations. We're confident that the methylmercury found in large ocean fish behaves differently when metabolized, with significantly higher toxicity, than the ethylmercury used in thimerosol. I'm not on the Jenny McCarthy band-wagon, and I think that the recent rise in childhood polio and pertussis is just the beginning of her legacy of misinformation.

(Disclaimer: This is my opinion, and the decision my husband and I made for our kids. It should not serve to undermine or threaten whatever choice you made about vaccinating your own kids. As in, if you decide to send me nasty emails about how I'm intentionally giving my kids mercury poisoning, autism and early-onset Alzheimers, don't expect a reply.)

No, the issue is that my son reacts to the vaccine. Every time. He experiences every single item on that horrible list of "normal but uncommon" reactions on the Public Health sheet. We get three days of body aches, mild fever, nausea, soft stools, dry mouth, head aches, runny nose, mild cough, and general misery. Once we even got the "mild shock" reaction, during which my not-quite-brown little boy turned milk white. Everything except Guillaume Barre Syndrome. And Thank God for that.

Also? My daughter is allergic to the protein used to grow the virus for vaccine manufacture. So, she gets to be tired, achy and have a sore tummy for a few days.

Fun times.

So, do I get them vaccinated for H1N1 and seasonal flu knowing that it will make them sick? Or do I (a) hope that they don't get the flu and (b) hope that if they do get it, it won't be bad enough to kill them?


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