Monday, October 26, 2009

The Truth about the H1N1 (Swine) Flu

I received an email from a distraught mother who is unsure of whether or not to give her 3 year old the H1N1 vaccine.

This is her e-mail:
I'm a mother of a 3 year old baby girl, & we mostly stay at home all the time. Every now & then we go out like to Wal*mart or out to eat, but not often. I am very scared of hearing about all this N1H1 flu, & I'm also kinda scared of the shots that are supposed to prevent it. I'm worried & confused - should I get my baby the shot right away? How dangerous is the N1H1? I have heard that it is killing tons of people (mostly babies.) Is this true?

I guess my real question is if she did catch it would she die? How concerned should I be about this flu?

Here’s my response:
I understand and appreciate your worries. I think we all are a bit unsure here. The first thing I would do is speak with your doctor to get his or her advice. This flu is mostly hitting young people. The doctor I interviewed felt that children should get the shots.

First, it is not true that the flu is killing ton of people. I pulled this off the CDC website for you. I'm not sure what state you live in, but it is the most up to date info. available as of Oct. 23rd:
Monday, October 26

Key Flu Indicators from the CDC
Each week CDC analyzes information about influenza disease activity in the United States and publishes findings of key flu indicators in a report called FluView. During the week of October 11-17, 2009, a review of the key indictors found that influenza activity continued to increase in the United States from the previous week. Below is a summary of the most recent key indicators:
• Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) increased steeply since last week in the United States, and overall, are much higher than what is expected for this time of the year. ILI activity now is higher than what is seen during the peak of many regular flu seasons.
• Total influenza hospitalization rates for laboratory-confirmed flu are climbing and are higher than expected for this time of year.
• The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) based on the 122 Cities Report has increased and has been higher than what is expected at this time of year for two weeks. In addition, 11 flu-related pediatric deaths were reported this week; 9 of these deaths were confirmed 2009 H1N1, and two were influenza A viruses, but were not subtyped. Since April 2009, CDC has received reports of 95 laboratory-confirmed pediatric 2009 H1N1 deaths and another 7 pediatric deaths that were laboratory confirmed as influenza, but where the flu virus subtype was not determined.
• Forty-six states are reporting widespread influenza activity at this time. They are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This many reports of widespread activity are unprecedented during seasonal flu.
• Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far are 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These viruses remain similar to the virus chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, and remain susceptible to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir with rare exception.
I hope this information helps. Their website is Check it out to stay informed.

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