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branchandroot: daisy by a cup of tea (tea with flower)
[personal profile] branchandroot
Okay, this has come up one my reading lists, so I figured I should give the short version, here.

Very short low-down on swine flu, aka h1n1 novel virus: It's not horribly deadly it just spreads really fast and no one has immunity to speak of, so yes, you should get the vaccine.

Less short but still short low-down: The swine flu is, by and large, no more dangerous than any seasonal flu. It hits with about the same intensity, so we're talking three days to two weeks of general urgh to acute misery. As always, there can be complications that lead to death; that's influenza for you.

The reason it is rated a pandemic is because of how fast and widely it spreads, due to the unfortunate fact that it is a new virus and no one has more than partial immunity. Older people have gotten more flus and have more chance of that partial immunity, young people have less.

The fear, therefore, is mostly that it will hit everyone in an entire area/campus/town all at once and cause severe problems in basic functioning because everyone will be sick at the same time. No groceries, because there's maybe one person well enough to work at the store, no bus routes, no mail, that kind of thing. This is, of course, of especial concern when it comes to health care workers being hit right when they're needed most. If the ambulance drivers and nurses all have 104 fevers for five days, this is a huge problem.

The particular danger signs are intense nausea and the inability to keep food or liquids down, sudden dizziness, shortness of breath, or showing signs of a secondary infection like pneumonia; ignoring those signs and not getting to a hospital if they appear is a stupid thing to do, but that won't stop some people, especially young people who are used to throwing off even bad illnesses. Hence, deaths.

In summary, you should get the vaccine because, even though you may not ever get enough seasonal symptoms to notice, you are probably still a transmitter and the critical point is to stop the spread of this one.

Date: 2009-10-22 03:54 pm (UTC)
flourish: white lady, green eyes, brown hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] flourish
Sigh. Although noplace near MIT has even the normal flu vaccine, much less the swine flu one, so I guess I'm just going to have to deal with not getting it.

That's what's frustrating - the inability to do the right thing!

Date: 2009-10-22 06:30 pm (UTC)
buymeaclue: (cure for anything)
From: [personal profile] buymeaclue
Here via Cofax7, and I got an email this morning from my doctor's office in Somerville saying they have the H1N1 vax (though not yet the seasonal). Here's from the email:

"The H1N1 we are making available to the groups at highest risk for complications- patients under 25, all patients with asthma and the few patients that we have that are immunocompromised. Children under 6 months cannot get it but we will immunize parents even if they are not our patients."

So may not help you at all, but figured I'd post it on the off-chance you fall into that last category. This is Davis Square Family Practice, if so.

Date: 2009-10-22 06:38 pm (UTC)
flourish: white lady, green eyes, brown hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] flourish
Oh, poop - despite being under 25, I'm not a parent. :( But it's good to know that somebody has something. The other grad students in my program + I have all been trying to get vaccinated, as many of us are under 25, and none of us have had any luck yet.

Hi thar, wall o'text o'mine!

Date: 2009-10-22 04:22 pm (UTC)
mitsuhachi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mitsuhachi
Argh. This has been a running argument between my mom and I. Generally, yes, I agree with everything you've posted. But there are actual valid reasons to choose not to get the vaccine (and not just glen beck-style fail). You may know some or all of this.

The seasonal flu vaccine and the swine flu vaccine are different and work on different things.

In terms of percentage, the vast majority of people are getting swine flu and that's the one targeting young people anyway. So if you wouldn't normally get a seasonal flu vaccine, you probably won't have problems skipping this one. Furthermore, there's been some studies (in process of publication, last I heard) that suggest there may be a link between the seasonal flu vaccine and vulnerability to swine flu (something like twice as many people who got swine flu badly enough to type it had had the seasonal vaccine last year? Let me know if you want me to look it up.) So there's two reasons to opt out of that one for the mo.(I cannot, for anything, get my mom to recognize that there are TWO DIFFERENT VACCINES OUT. argh.)

Second, the actual flu vaccine may have problems. It may have side effects, like the 76 GBS problems, that haven't shown up in testing (especially since this new vaccine, though vaccines are usually so tested extensively it can take almost a decade of studies with long term effects before FDA approval, has received LESS testing than a tweak of the regular seasonal flu vaccine). I don't feel that the testing to date has been sufficient, and I don't like taking meds that aren't fully understood yet.

As for one's responsibility to society, I understand the need to prevent spread of disease to people who may be more vulnerable (immunodeficient persons, or w/e). But that can be accomplished by being more contentious about your cleanliness and hygiene, washing your hands well and frequently, disinfecting surfaces, not going out if you have symptoms, etc.

Non teel version? I'd never argue with someone who chose to have the vaccine; your health is not my business. But there are valid reasons for choosing not to. And I wish people would recognize that too.

Re: Hi thar, wall o'text o'mine!

Date: 2009-10-22 08:30 pm (UTC)
mitsuhachi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mitsuhachi
what the final conclusion was at the time was that the link is not causal. I assume you mean the Canadian study? I had not heard that they had reached a conclusion on that? The cdc is still saying only that they're keeping an eye on it and there are other studies with different findings. Can you link me your source if you still have it?

Also, although I would be entirely willing to give the researchers the benefit of the doubt about their reasons for releasing early, they aren't gods. I'm not saying they're evil people raking in their dough laughing manically under a volcano somewhere, only that if you're rushing something and not taking the time to test it fully, you may miss something. I am not personally likely to be in contact with a lot of sick people/possibly sick people this season, and so have personally considered the risk benefits FOR ME and come to a different conclusion.

(Also, like to point out that "people putting off getting the h1n1 vaccine" despite believing it in there best interests are probably not the same people who have done their research and deliberately made a different choice. Which, in the end, is my whole point.)

Date: 2009-10-22 08:23 pm (UTC)
pineapplechild: HELLO!, says the giant squid, wait why are you running away (Default)
From: [personal profile] pineapplechild
I am a college student, I work on campus. Where I work, there have been two people down with H1N1, and in my house, there has been one confirmed case. However, I haven't gotten any of the vacines because I'm that one person who always gets all of the random-ass side effects.
For example, when I got the Gardasil shots, I got general achiness and severe head aches on the first one, fever on the second, then on the third, I got the full fever and vomiting and diarrhea. It was special. And that's genreally typical of my experience with vaccines.
I do try to practice good hygiene to prevent spreading, on the plus side.

Date: 2009-10-22 09:17 pm (UTC)
pineapplechild: HELLO!, says the giant squid, wait why are you running away (Default)
From: [personal profile] pineapplechild
It's nasty. When I do decide a vaccine is worth it, I have to make sure that I have a couple days after to be sick in.

Date: 2009-10-23 03:48 am (UTC)
firstlight: (Default)
From: [personal profile] firstlight
We're at the stage where they're only giving the vaccine to healthcare workers, and then next week to people with underlying illnesses, I believe. They think getting the vaccine to those people will take until the end of November, so the decision about whether to take it or not is unlikely to be an issue for most other people here for a while. We've already had cases at the college but fortunately that was a few members of staff during the summer when the college is mostly empty and everyone is mostly working in their own areas and not moving around much, so it didn't run wild that time.

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