The Ultimate Guide to the Swine Flu Vaccine

by Miranda on November 04, 2009

This fall, the swine flu, which first made its appearance as an epidemic back in April, is re-emerging. As seasonal flu season kicks into gear, the swine flu is making a comeback. Additionally, the disease, which is highly contagious, is also being spread as kids are back in school after a summer break. Since children and teenagers are among those most susceptible to the swine flu, it is little surprise that school is bringing things back into focus.

3482053519_b34a78d688In anticipation of the new outbreak this autumn, the government has been rushing to develop a swine flu vaccine to combat the effects. The first doses have been made generally available to the public this month. Many people are concerned about the swine flu vaccine, since there were stories of several complications and deaths from the last swine flu vaccine developed in the 1970s. The current vaccine is not the same developed then, and so far has had fewer jarmful side effects.

Swine Flu Vaccine Safety

With all vaccines there is the chance of unpleasant — and even deadly — side effects. However, the swine flu vaccine is considered as safe as vaccinations can be. Testing has been thorough in a number of age groups. Military personnel were required to be vaccinated, and this population has been closely monitored for ill effects. So far, the effects have been minimal, and the vaccine is considered mostly safe. The injected version of the swine flu vaccine does not contain a live virus. Instead it has viral proteins. The nasal version does have a weakened form of the virus, however.

For those who are allergic to eggs, getting the swine flu vaccine is a bad idea, since chicken eggs are used in the production. The swine flu vaccine is also not recommended for infants under the age of six months. Instead, caregivers are encouraged to get vaccine in order to avoid contracting swine flu and passing it on to infants. Side effects of the swine flu vaccine include the effects you are likely to see with any seasonal flu vaccination:

  • Pain at injection site
  • Muscle aches
  • Malaise
  • Runny nose
  • Mild, short-lived flu symptoms (with the nasal vaccine)

In some cases another reaction might be seen, and in extremely rare cases some sort of disorder, such as Guillian Barre Syndrome, or death may occur. Many medical professionals agree that the risks posed by the swine flu vaccine are low as compared to the risk of complications from the swine flu, which is more aggressive than the seasonal flu.

Recommendations for the Swine Flu Vaccine

You should realize that the seasonal flu vaccine will not provide adequate protection against the swine flu. These are two different types of flu, and one vaccine will not protect you from both. This means that getting the swine flu vaccine will not protect against the seasonal flu.It is recommended that you get both vaccinations in order to receive protection from both these types of flus. You can get the injections at the same time, but if you use the nasal spray versions, you should separate the vaccinations out by a month.

There are some groups that are at greater risk for the swine flu. In addition to health care providers, emergency responders and those who work with children on a regular basis (teachers and caregivers), here are those who should receive the swine flu vaccine:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those between the ages of six months and 24 years old
  • Those between the ages of 24 and 65 years old with health conditions that increases the risk of contracting a disease

Interestingly, those who are over the age of 65 in good health are not as susceptible to swine flu as those who are younger and in good health. This age group is considered the least likely to get sick from the swine flu.

Adults should get one dose of the swine flu vaccine. Children under the age of 10, however, need two doses in order to ensure immunity. There should be a month’s period of time between the two doses of the swine flu vaccine for children. Healthy adults should wait until higher-risk populations have received the vaccine before getting vaccinated. Limited amounts of the swine flu vaccine will be initially available, so it is important to make sure those with a higher risk of death from complications due to the swine flu be vaccinated first.

If you have already had the swine flu, there is no need to receive the vaccine. It won’t harm you, but it is fairly pointless to do so if you have already suffered from swine flu.

Information About the Swine Flu

The H1N1 flu, also called swine flu, is a rather unpleasant illness that is a strain of influenza with a genetic combination of swine flu, human flu and avian flu viruses. The symptoms are quite similar the seasonal flu, but might be a little more aggressive. Some of the symptoms include headache, chills, cough, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, sore throat and vomiting. The swine flu also lasts a little bit longer than the seasonal flu, averaging about eight days, although symptoms can last for anywhere between five days and 12 days.

H1N1 can cause complications in those who have chronic conditions, such as asthma, heart problems and other issues. Additionally, swine flu can result in death for young children, and threaten the health of pregnant women. While healthy adults can mostly expect to recover, the process is considered quite unpleasant, and the vaccine, which is covered by most health insurance plans, can save the hassle.

Those with the swine flu are encouraged to stay home from school or work, since H1N1 is high contagious. Symptoms usually appear about three to five days from exposure. It is important to take preventative measures, such as washing your hands frequently, and coughing or sneezing into your elbow, rather than onto your hands. Use proper hygiene, and avoid places where the risk of catching the swine flu might be greater.

Since the swine flu has been identified as a pandemic, there is a chance that you will be exposed to it. You can protect yourself — and those around you — by getting vaccinated.

You can learn more about the swine flu and the swine flu vaccine from the following resources:

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