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Flu Guide

Alison Beaver

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The Influx Of Influenza

In the 2009-2010 flu season there were 282 pediatric deaths associated with influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now, pharmacies and hospitals encourage flu vaccinations and the mortality rate has decreased. Flu-associated pediatric deaths declined to 34 deaths for the 2011-2012 season.

Flu pandemics have a place in our history. There have been four pandemics since 1918.

The flu pandemic in 1918 lasted a year and was called the Spanish flu. The Spanish flu saw high mortality rates among health adults. There was reported 50 million deaths worldwide and 675,000 deaths in the United States, according to Flu.gov.

In the 1957-1958 flu season, about 69,800 people in the United States died, with the elderly having the highest death rates. Immunity to the strain of influenza was rare for those younger than 65, so children got it from schools and brought it home with them.

In 1958, another wave of the 1957 flu came, showing pandemic second waves can occur, according to Flu.gov.

A decade later, the mildest flu pandemic in history occurred, called the Hong Kong flu. The Hong Kong flu hit when children were out of school and was very similar to the 1957 flu, which may account for the low mortality rate.

The most recent pandemic of the flu was when the Swine Flu (H1N1) virus hit. The pandemic began in April 2009 and was declared a public health emergency by the U.S. government.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a vaccine for the virus with about 43 million to 89 million people having the H1N1 virus. People at the highest risk got the vaccination first. Most cases of H1N1 were in young people.

Seasonal flu is predictable, starting in the fall and ending in the spring. School-aged children sick at home with flu-like illness are a good indicator that the season has begun.

Seasonal flu is a respiratory infection that is contagious and caused by different flu viruses. The earlier flu symptoms are recognized the faster the recovery, according to WebMD.com.

Flu symptoms are abrupt with the onset of fever, headache, fatigue and body aches.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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Anonymous

I was with the Canadian Forces in 2009, was ordered to get the H1N1 shot (AREPANRIX by GSK GlaxoSmithKline) and had an adverse reaction to the vaccine. I received PERMANENT neurological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and respiratory symptoms: dizziness, vertigo, irregular heart rhythms, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and pain, and numbness in hands and feet. My physical fitness changed from special forces fit to that of a 70 year old in a matter of days. Prior to the vaccination the Department of National Defence (DND) provided information advising side effects "having mild chills and fever a few days following the shot means it is working", and "There is a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of acquiring a serious neurological complication". According to GSKs product information provided by Health Canada, "neurological disorders" are "very rare (may occur with up to 1 in 10,000 doses)" and "if any of these side effects occur, please tell your doctor or nurse immediately" which differs from the information provided to soldiers. The DND also stated "It is not a live vaccine so it cannot give you the flu". According to Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an epidemiologist and an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, "In the early weeks of the pandemic that people who got the flu shot (H1N1) for 2008-09 winter seemed to be more likely to get infected with the pandemic virus than people who hadn't received the shot". Another study linked narcolepsy, a neurological disorders to the H1N1 vaccine, "Narcolepsy in association with pandemic influenza vaccination", September 2012, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. You may also query the National Vaccine Information Center database of adverse reactions to vaccines (VAERS) which includes more than 11,465 events (adverse reactions) to the H1N1 vaccine, 3,390 symptoms and 61,500 reactions (more than 5 reactions per record). In the UK, the "FINAL PUBLIC SUMMARY - UK Suspected Adverse Reaction Analysis, Swine Flu (H1N1) Vaccines - Celevanpan and Pandemrix, 26 March 2010" details more than 8,600 suspected reactions classified into 650 reaction names. Other information to consider is from Richard Warrington, President of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, "Vaccination with Arepanrix has led to far more reports of anaphylaxis or significant allergic reactions than is normally expected for a flu vaccine." You may also ask your doctor and other Health care workers if they received the H1N1 vaccination and if they plan to remain up to date with all vaccinations. Reports from Canada, US, India, Hong Kong and other countries note a 50% vaccination rate among those who recommend and administer the immunization. According to Fox News "Most said they would pass on the H1N1 shot ... because they were afraid of side effects and doubted how safe and effective it would be." I asked my doctor and he didn't hesitate in saying "no way". Be informed and please choose wisely if you do plan to have your next flu shot or vaccination.

October 20, 2012 - 9:18am
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