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H1N1 Vaccine
Posted: 28 September 2009 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Kaizen - 28 September 2009 06:13 PM

Do most people get their annual flu shots? I don’t recall ever getting one. My last flu was 2 or 3 years ago and the one before that was another 5-6 years before the last flu. My father is a nurse and he recently told me that I shouldn’t get the vaccination because my immune system won’t get stronger over time. He’s not the reason I never got a shot, I recently met him after 20 years or so.

No, you should get the flu shot, age is not a contraindication. Unless YOUR doctor tells you not to get one based on YOUR medical history and specific contraindications, you should get one both to protect yourself and your loved ones.

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Posted: 28 September 2009 09:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Kaizen - 28 September 2009 06:21 PM
Jules - 28 September 2009 06:18 PM

That is strange logic. The flu shot strengthens your immune system, just as it would if you go the actual flu. Except you don’t have to get the actual flu and risk pneumonia and other horrible things.

I don’t anything about any of this stuff. Is it possible that you get stronger from recovering from more severe flu cases? Kind of like working out. Light workouts have smaller gains and than intense workouts, assuming you don’t over do it.

You risk spreading it to people who may DIE from the flu, you risk secondary infection that may put you into the hospital. We had the flu run through our unit recently (while I was on vacation luckily) two ended up with pneumonia and one in the hospital. The one who ended up in the hospital has no underlying chronic condition and is in good health, she was also young middle age (<50). Get your vaccination. Even nurses can have misinformation, I would ask your father where he got his information, everything I have read says the opposite of what he has told you. It is less effective as you get older(>65), but it still provides protection, and it is still recommended in that age group.

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Posted: 28 September 2009 09:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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George - 28 September 2009 06:26 PM
Jules - 28 September 2009 06:18 PM

The flu shot strengthens your immune system, just as it would if you go the actual flu.

I don’t think that’s true, Jules. I believe the antibodies you get from the actual flu are stronger—if that’s the right word to use (?). If you get the flu shot your chances of getting the flu are still 40%. But if you get the flu, I imagine the chances of falling ill with the exact virus are much lower. Of course, flu shot is much safer way of getting the antibodies.

I’m not sure where you got that 40%. I don’t believe that is correct. There are a lot of variables such as how long it has been since you received the vaccination (did you have enough time to produce the antibodies). Was the CDC able to come up with a good projection for the type of flu that was anticipated, it is an educated guess based on past flu, but sometimes they get it wrong. I’m sure the doctors could come up with more.

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Posted: 28 September 2009 09:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Kaizen - 28 September 2009 06:21 PM
Jules - 28 September 2009 06:18 PM

That is strange logic. The flu shot strengthens your immune system, just as it would if you go the actual flu. Except you don’t have to get the actual flu and risk pneumonia and other horrible things.

I don’t anything about any of this stuff. Is it possible that you get stronger from recovering from more severe flu cases? Kind of like working out. Light workouts have smaller gains and than intense workouts, assuming you don’t over do it.

The immune system doesn’t work like that! You don’t ‘strengthen’ the immune system, that is CAM woo. You are teaching your immune system to recognize an organism. You can do it the hard way, by getting the disease, with potential secondary infections and loss of life, or you can do it the easy way, with a vaccination.

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Posted: 28 September 2009 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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George - 28 September 2009 07:16 PM

Here is what macgyver said in the “swine flu” thread:

In general live vaccines create higher antibody levels than killed vaccines but still not as high a level as you would get from a natural infection in most cases. In addition, natural infections sometimes generate more than one type of antibody

Obviously, there are many reasons why one should get the vaccine instead of getting the actual flu.

BTW, the word was “higher” antibody, not “stronger” as I incorrectly wrote in my previous post.

I posted my reply before reading this. MacGyver is correct. But you don’t know if you will get a mild case of the disease, or the mother of all flues and end up in the hospital or a grave, or WORSE give it to dear old mum, or your baby girl and have THEM in the hospital or grave.

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Posted: 28 September 2009 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Jules - 28 September 2009 06:58 PM
Mriana - 28 September 2009 06:52 PM

Code Pink We have a missing Nurse Asanta.

Ha ha - love it!

LOL

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Posted: 29 September 2009 03:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Another good article from the NYTimes on this topic:

Pregnancy Is No Time to Refuse a Flu Shot

By ANNE DRAPKIN LYERLY, MARGARET OLIVIA LITTLE and RUTH R. FADEN
Published: September 28, 2009

Pregnant women are deluged with advice about things to avoid: caffeine, paint, soft cheese, sushi. Even when evidence of possible harm is weak or purely theoretical, the overriding caveat is, “Don’t take it, don’t use it, don’t do it.”

In a few contexts, the admonition is warranted; in most, it is merely inconvenient and anxiety provoking. But in the case of pandemic influenza, it may be deadly. With the second wave of swine flu at hand, and up to 50 percent of the public at risk, the usual mode of thinking about pregnancy and medications threatens to make a worrisome situation worse.

<snip>

Anne Drapkin Lyerly is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke, Margaret Olivia Little is director of the Georgetown Kennedy Institute for Ethics, and Ruth R. Faden is director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

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Posted: 29 September 2009 04:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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You made a lot of good points, but regardless, I still worry about getting even though others get vaccinated.  Not everyone does and not everyone has a good excuse not to get it.  Granted, my grandparents were born in 1913 and 1914, thus survived more than one pandemic flu and of course I was alive during the first Swine flu.  Can’t remember if I got it or not, but I remember not feeling too well during the 70s and having to stay home.  I’m substitute teaching now and I can imagine how many parents don’t vaccinate here in the Bible Belt.  UGH!  Regardless, I feel like I’m just sitting here waiting to get it all because I have a stupid egg allergy.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 29 September 2009 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Mriana - 29 September 2009 04:21 AM

...  I’m substitute teaching now and I can imagine how many parents don’t vaccinate here in the Bible Belt.  UGH!...

It’s probably much worse in the bible belt. But not vaccinating is also “trendy” among some in the $600 Bugaboo stroller crowd in NYC & suburbs. The ones buying expensive organic baby food and organic clothes. I hear some parents up here saying “I’m not putting those unnatural flu shots in my child!” It happens in all areas. But you’re right, the bible belt is probably worse.

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Posted: 29 September 2009 06:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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asanta - 28 September 2009 09:56 PM

I’m not sure where you got that 40%.

The numbers vary, but on average the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine is about 60%.

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Posted: 29 September 2009 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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asanta - 28 September 2009 10:01 PM

But you don’t know if you will get a mild case of the disease, or the mother of all flues and end up in the hospital or a grave, or WORSE give it to dear old mum, or your baby girl and have THEM in the hospital or grave.

That’s why I said that, “there are many reasons why one should get the vaccine instead of getting the actual flu.” This, however, has nothing to do with the fact that one will get higher antibodies from the natural flu compared with the vaccine.

Also, Asanta, you may want to reconsider advising others to wash their hands in order to prevent the swine flu, as it seems to be very ineffective against the H1N1 virus. Supposedly, the virus will not survive on the hands, unlike the common cold virus.

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Posted: 29 September 2009 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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George - 29 September 2009 06:18 AM
asanta - 28 September 2009 09:56 PM

I’m not sure where you got that 40%.

The numbers vary, but on average the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine is about 60%.

But for those that do get the flu after the vaccine (usually they catch a different or mutated strain, I think?) don’t they have milder cases, fewer symptoms, and recover faster? That is what I had read in the past.

As for the hand washing, I did read that the H1N1 does not survive for long periods of time on the hands. But I would still think if you touched elevator buttons that someone just sneezed or coughed on a few minutes prior, then scratched an itchy nose, wouldn’t it transfer the germs? (I guess the lesson being - don’t touch your face! LOL )

Handwashing is so critical for preventing the spread of other germs, I’d hate to see people think it’s a waste of time, when they should still be handwashing to prevent nasty colds, diarreah, strep, etc.

Yes I had also read that H1N1 was tranferred mainly by droplets in the air (usually sneeze and cough). It bothers me when people sneeze or cough without turning their head far away from those around them, using a hanky or tissue, or even coughing into their elbow. In addition to spreading germs, it is rude.

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Posted: 29 September 2009 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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No, Jules, washing hands is certainly not a waste of time in order to prevent infection from other germs, for example the common cold as I said in my previous post.

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Posted: 29 September 2009 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Frequent handwashing is STILL a good defense against the flu. I stand by that statement. It doesn’t have to ‘live’ on the hands very long to be able to infect you. The hands are still an excellent mode of transfer. One should always wash their hands before touching their face..or anyone elses.

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Posted: 29 September 2009 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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asanta - 29 September 2009 08:54 AM

Frequent handwashing is STILL a good defense against the flu.

Not according to this:

Hand-Washing Won’t Stop H1N1
It’s become conventional wisdom that simple soap and water can protect against the flu, but the science suggests otherwise.

[...]

Nevertheless, hand-washing is still your best defense against getting sick generally this fall—colds and other respiratory diseases are no fun, even if they don’t sound as scary as swine flu. For that and other flu viruses, don’t seek solutions at the sink: your best chance of avoiding H1N1 this fall is to get the vaccine once it becomes available.

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