Still Confused About Swine Flu Shots? Kids Under 10 Will Need 2
Still confused about what's going to happen with swine flu shots next month? You're not alone. The federal government and individual states still haven't told us how they're going to distribute the vaccine, or when. Yesterday's chirpy press release from the
You'd have a hard time figuring that out from the press release, which quoted NIAID director
Fortunately, there still are good health reporters and bloggers out there who make a point of untangling the government's often-knotted flu pronouncements. Some of my all-time faves are the public-health experts at Effect Measure, who earlier today delivered a typically tart analysis of the government's effort to put the brightest possible interpretation on the latest flu news.
The Asthma Mom follows flu news super-closely, because children with asthma are much more likely to develop pneumonia or other complications after having the flu. In a recent post, she points out that swine flu can attack the lungs' alveoli, damaging them and causing acute respiratory distress syndrome. This makes H1N1 very different from regular seasonal flu and much more like avian flu, which also targets young healthy people.
And the federal recommendation that children be vaccinated for both seasonal flu and H1N1 swine flu this fall has alarmed people who think that vaccines are implicated in causing autism and other disorders. There's no scientific evidence of that, but if you'd like to get clued in to those concerns,
The idea of four doses of flu vaccine in one season is daunting, and no vaccine is risk free. But seasonal flu vaccines are among the safest out there, and the H1N1 vaccine is being made in the same way, in the same factories. (You can compare the odds of having various bad side effects of different vaccines with this
Had enough of grim news and tough decisions?
H1N1 and Its Descendents: Where This Pandemic Flu Came From - and Where it Might Go
Harvard Health Letters
Already, 2009 is not a typical year. We're in the midst of a flu pandemic caused by a virus that first emerged in Mexico in mid-February. Billions are being spent on preparedness plans. And millions of Americans may line up this fall to get two kinds of flu vaccines, one for the regular seasonal flu that comes around every winter and another for the pandemic strain. So far, the 2009 pandemic has been more widespread than lethal.
Vive la Resistance to Flu
Vaccinating people against swine flu may be a lot easier than anyone dared hope, as it turns out that people have an unexpected degree of immunity to the pandemic now sweeping the world.
In an effort to contain swine flu, the French Health Ministry this week called for citizens to avoid "all direct contacts between people and particularly with sick people," which means no kissing or shaking hands.
This may go down in history as the most confusing flu season ever, given that a vaccine for the new H1N1 swine flu isn't yet available, but the plain old seasonal flu vaccine is. Talk about a recipe for pandemonium at the pediatrician's office!
Seasonal Cold or Swine Flu? Moms Face Tough Calls
I sent my 11-year-old son to school today with a stuffy nose and mild cough, as I've done countless times in the past. Now, though, I'm wondering whether I should have kept him home. How do I know it's really a garden-variety cold and not the swine flu?
Better Ways Medicine Can Beat Back Swine Flu
Bernadine Healy M.D.
Yes, today's swine flu outbreak could change quickly. But it's time to give up the ghosts of 1918 that so haunt our medical thinking. Our challenges today are not what they were when we had nothing to offer but are more about knowing just what to offer, when, and to whom. This swine flu pandemic promises to teach numerous lessons that will inform future crises. Some are already evident
(C) 2009 U.S. News & World Report