Monday, October 19, 2009

swine flu facts (H1N1 flu)

So, where I work, people have been talking about the flu. I wanted to check what was really true so looked it up online. Here are answers to some of the common questions (and a link to ALL the FAQs in addition to flu vaccine location info, way at the bottom):

Situation update:
Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far are 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These viruses remain similar to the virus chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, and remain susceptible to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir with rare exception.
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/update.htm
(Note: you can sign up for email updates, follow on twitter, etc. — see box at right.)

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Will the seasonal flu vaccine also protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu?
No.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4160

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Can the seasonal vaccine and the 2009 H1N1 vaccine be given at the same time?
Not if they are both nasal sprays. But you can get a shot of one and a nasal spray of the other.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4854

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Who should not get the live nasal spray vaccine?
  • People younger than 2 years of age;
  • Pregnant women;
  • People 50 years of age and older;
  • People with a medical condition that places them at higher risk for complications from influenza, including those with chronic heart or lung disease, such as asthma or reactive airways disease; people with medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney failure; or people with illnesses that weaken the immune system, or who take medications that can weaken the immune system;
  • Children younger than 5 years old with a history of recurrent wheezing;
  • Children or adolescents receiving aspirin therapy;
  • People who have had Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder of the nervous system, within 6 weeks of getting a flu vaccine,
  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs or who are allergic to any of the nasal spray vaccine components.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4502

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How long before you're immune after getting the vaccine?
About 2 weeks.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4508

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If I've already had the flu, can I get it again?
Yes.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4309

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Do you need one or two doses of the vaccine?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of one dose of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine for persons 10 years of age and older. This is slightly different from CDC’s recommendations for seasonal influenza vaccination which states that children younger than 9 who are being vaccinated against influenza for the first time need to receive two doses. Infants younger than 6 months of age are too young to get the 2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines.

FDA has approved two doses for children 6 months through 9 years of age. As with seasonal vaccine, children 6 months through 35 months of age should get two doses of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, which contains one-half of the dose used for older children and adults.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4144

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What if I have rheumatoid arthritis?
You're at a greater risk for developing complications so the vaccine is recommended.
http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/blog20091019.html

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Does the H1N1 vaccine contain thimerosal?
The 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccines that FDA is licensing (approving) will be manufactured in several formulations. Some will come in multi-dose vials and will contain thimerosal as a preservative. Multi-dose vials of seasonal influenza vaccine also contain thimerosal to prevent potential contamination after the vial is opened.

Some vaccine manufacturers will be producing 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine in single-dose units, which will not require the use of thimerosal as a preservative. In addition, the live-attenuated version of the vaccine, which is administered intranasally (through the nose), is produced in single-units and will not contain thimerosal.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4168

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How have different age groups been affected by H1N1 flu in terms of death?
CDC studied the hospital records of 268 patients hospitalized with novel H1N1 flu early on during the outbreak. The number of deaths was highest among people 25 to 49 years of age (39%), followed by people 50 to 64 year of age (25%) and people 5 to 24 year of age (16%) This is a very different pattern from what is seen in seasonal influenza, where an estimated 90% of influenza-related deaths occur in people 65 years of age and older.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4247

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Don't buy H1N1 drug products over the internet.
This includes Tamiflu and Relenza, antivirals:
http://www.flu.gov/news/blogs/fdawarns.html

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If you have a serious lung disease, you may benefit from the pneumonia vaccine:
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/3944

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What about Guillain-Barre syndrome - is there a risk of getting it after the vaccine?
In 1976, there was a small risk of GBS following influenza (swine flu) vaccination (approximately 1 additional case per 100,000 people who received the swine flu vaccine). That number of GBS cases was slightly higher than what is normally seen in the population, whether or not people were vaccinated. Since then, numerous studies have been done to evaluate if other flu vaccines were associated with GBS. In most studies, no association was found, but two studies suggested that approximately 1 additional person out of 1 million vaccinated people may be at risk for GBS associated with the seasonal influenza vaccine.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4178

The vaccine is being monitored for safety — more details: http://answers.flu.gov/questions/4174

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Symptoms:
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/3941
Note: stay home for at least 24 hours AFTER the fever is gone.

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How long do people remain contagious?
People with H1N1 (swine) influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they have flu symptoms and possibly for up to 7 days following the start of illness. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/3871

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How long can the virus live on a surface outside its host?
They're still learning more about the H1N1 virus, but flu viruses in general can live for 2-8 hours on hard surfaces.
http://answers.flu.gov/questions/3943

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—> MORE FAQs:
http://answers.flu.gov/categories/286

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—> Find a flu shot where you live:
Includes hotline numbers once you narrow down by state.
http://www.flu.gov/whereyoulive/

1 comment:

geekhiker said...

Here's another question for you: how do I deal with the rampant paranoia (coupled with mass miss-information) going around my bloody office right now? Arrgh!

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