Category Archives: General Health

Over 90 Percent of What Planned Parenthood Does: Part 1, Flu Shots

Image: National Institutes of Health

Image: National Institutes of Health

Welcome to the first installment of “Over 90 Percent of What Planned Parenthood Does,” a new series on Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s blog. In this series we will highlight Planned Parenthood’s diverse array of services — the ones Jon Kyl doesn’t know about.

If you’re like me, you’ve been scared to get your flu shot ever since seeing that Fox News story about the woman who developed a rare neurological disease after getting a standard flu shot. I’m not even going to link to it here because if you’ve already seen it you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, you don’t want to. Trust me. Go look for it yourself if you want to see it so bad.


It’s not too late to get a flu shot.


Anyway, I hadn’t gotten one for years because I was afraid of being one in a million and contracting Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare, paralyzing illness that causes fever, nerve damage, and muscle weakness. Obviously, as has been pointed out to me by parents, friends, and doctors, the chances of that happening are so small that they aren’t even worth worrying about. Risks from getting the flu, especially if you’re a child or senior, are much more definite. (Furthermore, a 2011 study found no link between GBS and the flu shot.)

Last year I got the flu, and it was so awful that in my fever-induced haze I vowed I would not let it happen again.

You can get a flu shot pretty much anywhere this time of year, including Walgreens, Fry’s, and Safeway. Even Planned Parenthood Arizona carries the flu shot now, and offers them for $20 to both walk-in clients and those who have made an appointment. Continue reading

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