Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Flu Season

I got both flu vaccines (seasonal and H1N1), thanks to working at a hospital with direct patient contact. Frankly, it was not a moment too soon. I have 2 close friends with confirmed cases and have been around many more kids who have likely been still recovering from it. It is raging like wildfire through the schools around here, as well.

The hospital had been planning on a huge vaccine-fest, but like many places, they got quite a bit less of the seasonal vaccine than had originally been promised. At first I was pretty annoyed by this, but then I realized that the shortage is because vaccine suppliers have been trying to make more H1N1 vaccine, and H1N1 is what's going around now anyway. Waiting until November for the seasonal vaccine really should be fine.

Right now, they only have H1N1 as the live virus nasal spray. Technically, I am not supposed to get the nasal spray because I have asthma, but talking with the vaccine giver guy (I am pretty sure he is one of the heads of the infectious diseases dept), it sounded like it might just exacerbate my symptoms. Since my asthma is extremely mild (rescue inhaler a couple times a year, if that), I decided to risk it. At the rate H1N1 is tearing through this area and the kids I see every single day, I felt like not being vaccinated was a bigger risk.

There are so many myths and misconceptions out there about the vaccines, it's amazing. One of the more reassuring things I've heard was about the H1N1 vaccine. After the relative debacle of the swine flu vaccine in the '70s (some people became ill from the vaccine itself), many people are scared about this vaccine being "pushed through too fast." Well, it's *exactly the same vaccine* as the seasonal flu one, just filled with a different strain of the flu. So it's just as safe as the regular flu shot, which has caused none of those problems they had before.

In sum, get your flu shot(s) when you can, because not only will you prevent yourself from getting sick, but you will also prevent spreading it along. And frankly, I don't think it needs any more help from us. Stay well!

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