The Swine of '09

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Categories Parenting

H1N1: it’s everywhere.  Well, not literally (I hope!), but it is a topic that’s receiving quite a bit of coverage in the media these days.  Nary a day goes by that I don’t come across some reference to the Swine Flu on t.v., online, or in the newspaper.

One of my twin mama friends, who is pregnant with her third child (bless her sweet soul), is currently agonizing over whether or not she should be vaccinated.  Her angst over receiving the shot has got me thinking about my plans for my own family, and the goal of this post is to get you thinking about yours.

In truth, I have been worried thinking about this issue for months.  I am seriously concerned about Amelia and Ella contracting any strain of the flu at only 23 months old.  It’s scary stuff, at least for me (see prior post on hypochondria.  Side note:  I really need to evolve!).   But, it’s also scary to think of them being injected with a new vaccine that was developed and tested in only a few short months; the potential long-term side effects of this vaccine are obviously unknown.  Add to all of this the controversy over the 1976 Swine Flu and vaccine (which I have decided not to get into here – you’re welcome!), and you have yourself a real quandary.  Well, at least you do if you’re me.

So, I decided to do a bit of research on the 2009 Swine Flu and highlight some important points to help you decide what is right for your family this wonderful flu season.  You have some time to think about your plan as the vaccine is not expected to be released until early Fall.  I have separated the fruits of my labor into three categories: 1) General information; 2) CDC recommendations; and 3) Important Statistics.  All of the information I have compiled can be found on the CDC’s website.

General Information:

  • The Swine Flu is spread in the same way as seasonal influenza and is now being transferred by person-to-person contact.
  • The vaccine for seasonal flu does not provide protection against H1N1.  The vaccine for H1N1 can be administered on the same day as the vaccine for seasonal influenza, but in a different site on the body.
  • 98% of  individuals who have contracted H1N1 in 2009 have recovered; most people have done so without medical intervention or treatment.

CDC Recommendations:

The CDC is currently recommending that the following populations receive the first round of the 2009 vaccine and has classified them as high priority (in no particular order):

  • persons who live with and/or care for infants younger than six months of age
  • healthcare and emergency medical service professionals
  • persons between 6 months and 24 years of age
  • persons  25 through 64 years of age who have chronic health issues or compromised immune systems

Important Statistics about the 2009 H1N1 virus:

  • The highest incidence of persons infected is among those between 5 and 24 years of age.
  • The highest incidence of hospitalization for flu-related complications is among those under 4 years of age.
  • The highest incidence of mortality is among those over the age of 65.
  • Although pregnant women represent only 1% of the general population, they also constitute 6% of confirmed fatal cases.

So, what to do?  Personally,  I am taking one to the arm, or the leg, or wherever else they administer shots these days,  as will my husband and my girls.  Why?  It’s simple really: for me, the potential complications of H1N1 are more frightening than any potential side effects of the vaccine.  But, that’s just me.  And let me say that I totally respect those of you who choose not to vaccinate your children.

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate: this is the question.  What are you doing?  How have you come to your decision?

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14 thoughts on “The Swine of '09”

  1. Thanks for all the H1N1 information. I’ve been meaning to try to look up all the statistics and information, but hadn’t gotten around to it (and now I don’t have to!).

    I’ll admit, while I’m not a hypochondriac, I am a bit of a germaphobe. Still, I’m trying to stay relatively calm about H1N1, and at this point, I’m no more worried about my kids (18 mo.) getting swine flu than I am of them getting any other illness (however, being a germaphobe, my level of worrying is already higher than that of the average mom). My husband and I will play it safe- cover our coughs, wash our hands after coming in from being out in the world, and have even decided to keep the kids out of some group activities this cold/flu season.

    Will we vaccinate? This has yet to be decided. We have their 18 mo. well visit this week and will probably discuss it with the doctor. I imagine we’ll go with whatever he recommends, and I think I’ll be fine either way.

  2. My husband actually got H1N1 last June – confirmed and 8 days out of work (he needed a doctor’s note to go back, crazy). He claims he got it from the tykes who were sick when we were visiting relatives in Ohio. I also felt crummy for a few days but nothing like his fever/chills (which were basically the same as regular flu). Since they were exposed I’m likely not going to vaccinate the kids. They aren’t in daycare and may have already gotten it anyway. This reminds me thought that I need to sign them up for the flu clinic (seasonal). Also, I believe that if you are breastfeeding your kids receive the benefit of the mom’s flu shot – but you should confirm with your pediatrician.
    .-= Mommy, Esq.´s last blog ..Sugar and Everything Nice =-.

  3. My husband hates needles but after my daughters were born I insisted he start getting flu shots. My daughters came home from the NICU at the peak of flu season and I wanted to protect their fragile immune systems. We now all receive annual flu shots. My daughters are now in preschool and bring home any and every bug that goes through the class. It’s my understanding the current flu vaccine doesn’t protect against H1N1, but a vaccine may be available for that next month (not sure about that previous statement).
    .-= Quadmama´s last blog ..When Will You Tell Your Children? =-.

  4. Two things have me reluctant to get the H1N1 shot for the boys
    1) A few friends with infants have been asked to participate in a controlled study for the vaccine by their pediatrician. This leads me to believe that it hasn’t been very widely tested on young babies, and that makes me nervous.
    2) Don’t laugh, but Dr. Drew said not to. I know, I know, he’s a radio/tv doctor, but I’ve been listening to him since I was like 13, so I have probably a misguided trust into what he says!

    Really #1 is the main reason. We’re traveling across the country in a month, and so I’m sure I’ll be super vigilant about hand washing, but beyond that, I’m not getting too worked up about it.

  5. My daughter had a flu-like illness at 9 months, alhtough she tested negative for flu at the time, to the shock of her doctor. It scared the crap out of me to have such a sick little girl on my hands—and thus have become hypervigilant about all four of us getting the flu vaccine each year. I want to be sure that if one of my kids get that sick again, I am sure that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it.
    .-= rebecca´s last blog ..Threadless Tshirt Giveaway at =-.

  6. We’ll get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it’s available. We’ve gotten the regular flu shot every year since my now-33-mos-old twins were eligible, and we’ll get that one this year too. I expect we’ll be facing a lot of viruses this fall, our first in 3-day-a-week preschool, so I’m trying to do what I can–they’ve already gotten two colds in the first three weeks there! Our doctor says the only other measures we can take to protect them are good sleep, good nutrition and handwashing. Bracing ourselves….

  7. Oh geez, this topic puts me into a total tailspin. I wasn’t even thinking about it until I took the girls to their 18month checkup, and their Pediatrician told me pretty much everyone on the island on live on (it really is an island, I don’t mean metaphorically) has or will have swine flu. Of course, I live in rural area, not nearly as affected as in town, where the doctor’s office is, which is clearly teeming with viral plague. I feel like his office is the greatest threat to any of us getting swine flu- yet that’s where the vaccines will be. What to do!?
    .-= Jungletwins´s last blog ..Mumu’s Reign of Terror =-.

  8. I don’t know about these two (seasonal and swine) but I do know that giving the body multiple vaccinations at once is both hard on the body and may not work as well…..just a thought.

  9. I am always on the fence about the regular flu vaccine anyway, as there are supposed possible ill effects from that even…and last season, the flu shot available in our area did not even closely match the actual strain that affected our area…so it was totally useless anyway.
    On the other hand, even though the H1N1 vaccine is a supposedly perfect match to the actual virus going around…well, it’s so untested, I really don’t want it injected in my kids. HOWEVER…if I had preemies/ immuno-compromised kids, I would probably have a much different opinion!
    In our situation, with relatively healthy 2-year-olds who are still nursing and are not in daycare, we will not vaccinate.

  10. My six-month old girls will be getting both vaccines. I took a flu shot for the first time last year when I was pregnant, on the advice of my OB, and I trust the dr.’s recommendation on the vaccines for the girls. He says his own children will be taking them…that’s enough for me.

    I might have been debating about the H1N1 vaccine, but we had a 12-year old boy die with confirmed H1N1 last week in our community. Needless to say, I’m a little freaked out!
    .-= Deanna´s last blog ..Where Were You? =-.

  11. Thanks for researching and posting this information. I’m still undecided about the H1N1 shot, but our 16 month olds have already received their seasonal flu shot at a routine followup appt. Ultimately, we probably will do whatever our pedi recommends at their 18-mo. well check …. Thanks again

  12. I just had my regular flu shot yesterday (my company offers them each year). The kids and Jennifer will have theirs at the kids’ 18 month checkup.

    Though media reports have done an excellent job of instilling fear in the public, I’m not any more concerned about H1N1 than any other illness. Were it that any of us had underlying medical conditions (which most H1N1 deaths had, particularly respiratory or cardiac in nature), I might be a little more concerned. Sure, otherwise healthy individuals have died from H1N1, but EVEN MORE otherwise healthy individuals have died from the regular flu or diarrhea or car accidents. After all, H1N1 is just ONE strain of the flu. And even ‘regular’ flu vaccines don’t guarantee you won’t get the ‘regular’ flu.

    We’ll continue to be diligent with hand-washing, etc, but I refuse to make decisions based on ‘what if’s’.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Seventeen Month Newsletter =-.

  13. Marcy, Thanks for doing the research.

    I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I’m going to err on the side of caution. Since I am a teacher AND my twins go to day care, we have a multitude of people who can and do make us sick.

    We’ll get both shots this year. I will definitely make sure to have them on different days though. I don’t want to tempt fate!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..The Amazing Gracie Lu-Who =-.

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