I've been struggling with whether or not I should get vaccinated against the swine and seasonal flu's this year, and also if my dd should get the vax. Even being a paramedic, I've always refused the seasonal flu vaccine and continue to be alive. I'm struggling with it this year because while I think the media and government has overhyped the flu (both kinds) to the point where the public is now fearful, I do think about the what if? of it all. If only we knew the future in a situation like this!
It's a difficult situation to determine what to do since I want to be careful about the vaccinations my family receives, but I also want to be careful about the diseases we contract! To help me decide, I did two things: looked in to the non-hype information about H1N1, and called my midwife.
Here's an informational memo put out by the county where I serve as a paramedic:
As the H1N1 virus continues to spread, health officials and medical experts have advice for people experiencing flu-like illness, who wonder if they should seek medical attention.
"We realize that many people are concerned because a new flu virus is circulating along with the seasonal flu this year," said Marcia Kasprzyk, Deputy Director for Public Health. It may help to know that for most individuals, novel H1N1 influenza will be no worse than the seasonal flu.
"Most people recover from the seasonal or novel H1N1 flu without needing medical treatment," said Prudence Ferraro, Chief Nursing Officer for Schuyler Hospital. Ferraro urged those who are NOT seriously ill to avoid hospital emergency departments. Instead, they are advised to contact their primary care doctor. "We’re asking for everyone’s help to make sure that the emergency department remains available for people who truly need it."
Kasprzyk pointed out that by going to the hospital when you are mildly ill can cause more problems:
• The individual can GET the flu from someone in the waiting room
• The individual could GIVE the flu to others
• The individual could DELAY important medical care for the seriously ill
Call your doctor right away or get emergency care in the event of severe or worsening illness.
Swine Flu Signs in adults: rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, pain and/or pressure in the chest or abdomen, bluish skin color, dizziness or confusion, increased fever or persistent vomiting.
Swine Flu Signs in children: increased fever, rash, rapid or difficulty breathing, bluish skin color, irritability, not waking up or interacting, and not drinking enough fluids.
The New York State Department of Health has set up a hotline (1-800-808-1987) for those who have questions about the H1N1 virus.
When I called my midwife, I asked if she's recommending for pregnant women (identified as being at one of the highest risks of contracting H1N1) to receive the swine flu vaccine. Her answer? DEFINITELY NOT. Instead, she recommends preventative measures such as hand washing. The risks of the vaccine outweigh the risks of contracting the flu--and that goes for both the seasonal and H1N1!
What are you plans for flu vaccines this year?