Archive for the ‘h1n1’ tag
The New York Times is reporting that the country as a whole is facing a shortage of seasonal flu vaccines, and it’s not hard to figure out why.
Personally, I get a flu shot every year. I have a somewhat weak immune system, and heck, even for a healthy person, getting the vaccine is a smart move. But with the various health scares littering newsprint this year, namely the H1N1 outbreak in summer, schools and elsewhere, folks are concerned, sometimes too much so, over whatever epidemic the media is touting this time around. The airborne illnesses that sweep the country each year are predictable and avoidable with proper care in hand-washing, etc. But these outbreaks get national attention, thus, as a residual effect, many folks have made darn well sure they are at least covered against the seasonal flu.
According to The Times report, somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 million people have gotten the seasonal flu shot this year, up from 61 million from last year at this time. I would argue that the increase is directly related to the scare over H1N1 and the flu in general, although the seasonal flu vaccine won’t be much help if you contract H1N1 (I don’t like referring to it as “swine flu” because that’s a misnomer).
H1N1 vaccines have been slow to reach some parts of the country. In fact, in some parts, people have probably already contracted the virus and gone on about their lives by the time the vaccine arrives. Regardless, this particular strain will probably have already mutated by the time it reaches rural America. In fact, this has been a point that has, rightly, frustrated health officials.
My amatuer advice: For the love of god, get your seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible and go about your business. The H1N1 will probably have mutated, come and gone, by the time the feds can get an H1Ni vaccine to health departments across the country. If a real epidemic were to break, we might consider actually being worried, given the exceedingly slow response to this current bout.
Here, I won’t refer to this flu strain as anything other than its quasi-official name, the 2009 H1N1 flu, and I’m glad to report, as of now, I don’t have it. Or else, I would probably be typing this from a hospital, and likely trying to hack an IV pump, hoping to access the Internet bedside. And you won’t hear any reference to that animal that wallows in its own feces anywhere in this post, thanks.
Now, to say that this thing has been blown giantly out of proportion, say like the avian flu or SARS, is probably an understatement, as media types everywhere toss the word “pandemic” around like a hacky sack (Yes, I’ve used that phraseology before). Folks, it’s a strain of the flu, no more, no less. It’s treatable by antiviral medicines, and if caught within the first two days or so, can make the patient feel better quite soon. It’s not HIV. It’s not the Black Plague. It’s the flu. So, if you get flu-like symptoms, get yourself to the doctor asap. But fears, irrational fears, still mount, most of them media-driven, despite the fact that the word “pandemic”
will be used ‘even if the new virus turns out to cause mainly mild symptoms.’ — The New York Times news blog, Blaming ‘Media Hype’ for Swine Flu Fears, May 1, 2009
Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, brings light to the media’s enchantment with another worldwide catastrophe better than I ever could:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M – Th 11p / 10c|
|Snoutbreak ’09 – The Last 100 Days|