Tuesday, September 29, 2009


There is a lot of information floating around about the flu. Nate is not going to get any flu vaccine as he is too young. They will not give shots to anyone under six months. So it seems that the best defense is to make sure my wife and I are vaccinated. So last week we both went and received the seasonal flu vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine contains the killed viruses. So you cannot actually get the flu from the vaccine. In some people, their immune systems will react and flu-like symptoms will occur. I've been lucky and have never had any issues with flu shots.

The seasonal vaccine contains 3 A-type (H3N2) virus, 1 A-type (H1N1) virus, not the novel H1N1 (2009 H1N1, Swine flu, etc), and 1 B-type virus. The seasonal flu vaccine does not provide protection against the 2009 H1N1 virus which is what all the talk this year is about. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine should be available in October. More info from CDC on seasonal virus here.

The 2009 H1N1 flu has a lot of people scared. The good thing I see is the virus doesn't appear to be very dangerous. The rates of death as a percentage seem to be less than some recent common flu variants and very importantly it does not appear to have mutated. The possible mutation is one of the scary potential scenarios that have been mentioned. A mutated virus could be much more dangerous. The 1918 Spanish Flu which happens to be a A-type H1N1 variant did mutate into the much deadlier version that affected millions. More info from the CDC on 2009 H1N1 here.

We'll still plan on getting vaccinated against the 2009 H1N1 flu as we want to make sure that we don't risk Nate getting the flu. Since we are caregivers of an infant under six months we are one of the recommended groups to get vaccinated along with pregnant women, and health care workers. While the 2009 H1N1 seems to be mild I would rather be safe as this flu like any flu can be deadly.

I found a couple other interesting H1N1 resources. Local hospital in Austin is tracking H1N1 info via twitter. For more see twitter.com/setonh1n1. A flu tracker, complete with maps from Rhiza Labs can be found here.

My final thoughts. The flu is mainly transmitted via the air through coughing and sneezing. If you are coughing or sneezing please cover your nose and mouth. If you are showing symptoms you can also help decrease the spread of the virus by staying home.

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