Does everyone regularly give their DMD boys the flu shot? I am considering flumist because their is no Thimerosol in it. Has anyone else done this? What about pnuemo vaccine?

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Hi Christine

Erik (16 yrs old) has been getting flu shots for the past 8 years. When he was in first grade he got the flu and subsequently showed a noticable loss of strength. That sold me that we needed to avoid the flu at all costs. No regrets here. He also gets the pnuemo vaccine every 5 years. Don't have information on Thimerosol. I hope your question will educate me.

Karen
Thanks Karen,
Thimerosol is a cheap preservative used in vaccines with a high mercury content. They stopped using it a few years ago because there was fear that it caused autism, but it is still aroun, mostly in the flu vaccine. I was told to requst the label when getting a vaccine to make sure that you get one without the thimerosol.
My son gets the flu shot every year. He got the pnuemo shot about 4 years ago so haven't gotten another yet.
We gave our older son Flumist this year, but Jack could not take it because he is on Steriods. I believe because it is a live virus. Jack has gotten flu shots since he was diagnosed and we have seen no side affects.

Ang :)
My son has had the flu shot each year now for the past 4 years and has had the pnemonia vaccine the doctor says he only needs that every 8 years I think. He has never gotten the flu so we have been lucky.
I would not get the Flumist. The reason why my son was never allowed was due to his diagnosis of Asthma. But now we know he does not have Asthma but weakened respiratory muscles due to MD. I have heard Flumist is not good for the lungs being weaker due to Asthma and that might now include weakened respiratory muscles from MD. I would check with your Dr. I do know they need flu shots since it will be more serious if they get it and especially considering how the lungs don't have the ability to cough as well as kids without MD. My son has been getting the flu shot ever since I could remember.
http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm#guid

I'm a little grumpy on this autism thing because it was an early mis diagnosis of the anomalies in Alex' development that I now know are pretty standard in dmd. Having been raised by shrinks I knew the autism diagnosis was b.s. the second we were told of it, though the fact that the person who gave us the diagnosis was a speech therapist under contract with a school district that stood to gain a few hundred extra bucks a day from being able to classify my kid as high functioning special needs was an additional red flag. My old man exposed me to the fact (not theory or opinion) that psychologists and psychiatrists have, for very good reasons, expanded the criteria for classifying children as autistic, and this occurred in stages at the same time that our children were exposed to more and more vaccinations.

All I can say on this issue is that flu can be bad, like dead bad, for steroid users, and you should talk to your doctor about this.
With all of the antioxidants Ewan takes, flu has not yet been a consideration for us. Despite the steroids the past 18 months, Ewan has yet to get so much as a runny nose. I know one day we will need to consider the possibility of the flu shot, but for now we are avoiding it. The longer we can let Ewan's own immune system fight colds and flu, the longer those natural immunities will serve him into the future.
My son gets the flu shot every year and it was recommended to me that all my family members get it because of Daniel. He has also had the pneumonia vaccine.
There has been a lot of controversy regarding Thimerosol and the dangers it poses to children, however very little media attention has been given to the dangers of not vaccinating children, which is really sad.

I guess at the end of the day I just put everything into perspective. A 0.5mL dose of flu vaccine with 0.01% Thimerosol (approx 50% Hg by weight) contains 25ug of mercury. (8 oz of commercial fish contains on average 23ug - yet none of us have stopped eating fish as a result). So its all relative. If the dose was administered daily, there may be a problem, however vaccines are once a year for the flu, and 5 yearly for pneumo.

In our family we are agreed (after watching our son battle some nasty chest infections) that the risks influenza poses to his health are far greater than those posed by Thimerosol, so the flu vac is a no brainer.

If you are concerned there are a couple of vaccines other than Flumist that contain minimal Thimerosol - FLUVIRIN AND FLUZONE, (neither have Thimerosol as a preservative - it is only used to inactivate the virus, and therefore is only present in trace amounts), however as far as I know there are no subunit vaccines for influenza, they are all inactivated live viruses, so they are all listed as precautionary for anyone on steroids. (But I'd have to clairfy that further)

It’s also important to note that the flu shot only protects against the 3 most common forms of influenza predicted for the winter season, and it offers no protection against the common cold (which are cause by Rhinoviruses, not Orthomyoviridae), so even with a flu shot vigilance is always the key.

We religiously keep our house flu free in winter (unless either my hubby or I catch it of course but even then we are “quarantined” until we have recovered) and this year it worked really well. It sounds really harsh, but our son got no major coughs or colds this year, so the combination of caution and flu vac really paid off.
We've all gotten our flu shot this year, and have every year since Sam was diagnosed. Dr. Wong specifically instructed us that no one in our family should get the flu mist. It's a live virus (shot is a dead virus) and could put Sam at risk because he's on steroids.
Justin will get his flu shot tomorrow as will I. Our entire house gets the flu shot also. We were told that no one in our family should get the mist because it is a live virus. We were also told that Justin needed to stay away from anyone who got the live vaccine for at least 48hours if at all possible, until he has had the flu shot. My niece got the mist and for three days was very sick with a high(104) fever, chills, shaking and then developed a nasty rash that lasted for almost 2 weeks.

--Samantha

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