Swine Flu Vaccine
With Flu Season right around the corner, and H1N1 Influenza still prevalent in the country, there have been a lot of questions about getting the newly released “Swine Flu” vaccine. There are new guidelines that have been released by the Centers for Disease Control that attempt to address the concerns over who should be vaccinated.
There will be two different types of vaccine available for H1N1 Influenza. The first is the Intra-Nasal vaccine. This is considered a live vaccine and should not be used if you have chronic health problems such as asthma. The second type is the standard injectable vaccine. Both provide the same protection against H1N1 Influenza. If you are in doubt which vaccine method is best for you, ask your health care provider. The intra-Nasal vaccine is already available and the injectable vaccine is expected to begin shipping around the middle of October.
The CDC has recommended that certain groups within the population receive their vaccination on a priority basis. These target groups include women who are pregnant, those who live with or care for infants under 6 months of age, healthcare providers, children 6 months through 4 years of age and those aged 5 years and up who have chronic medical conditions. People in these groups should receive their vaccination with the first shipments that become available.
As more vaccine becomes available, everyone between the ages of 25 and 64 should receive the vaccine. Current studies have shown that the risk for infection with those persons 65 or older is much less than the risk for younger age groups, which is why the recommendation is to wait if you are older than 65 years until demand has been met with the other groups.
There is not an expected shortage of vaccine, and the good news is that you will only need to receive one instead of two doses as initially thought. You should protect yourself against all flu risk, by getting the vaccine for both seasonal as well as swine flu. Pneumococcal vaccine should also be considered if you have chronic health disorders. Often you can receive them all in one visit.
There are other things you can do to protect yourself from infection if you cannot get your vaccine right away. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you can’t, use alcohol based sanitizers. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and germs easily spread this way. Cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or use the inside bend of your elbow (not your hands). Finally, when you are not feeling well, just stay home from work or school. It is important to limit your contact with others. This will decrease the potential spread of this virus.