H1N1 Influenza (swine flu): Update Sept. 13, 2009

H1N1 Influenza (swine flu): Update Sept. 13, 2009

When will it return?
This influenza virus has its own schedule. It was in our community
earlier this year in the spring and earlier summer. Since then it has
left us for the Southern Hemisphere. Now this virus is going to come
back to Greater Cleveland. It is uncertain when it will come back
in full force, or how severe an illness it will be this time. Some
reports suggest that it is appearing on some college campuses.
But the H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) virus is not widespread in our
community at this time.
This means if your child has a cold or flu-like illness, at this time,
it is highly unlikely to be from the H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) virus.

How severe will it be this next time?
No one knows. The first round in the spring and early summer
was fairly mild. It has remained mild in the Summer Hemisphere.
Chances are good that it will remain mild on its return, but we will
not know until it is here.
With two exceptions: like all flu viruses, the very ill and very old
can get seriously ill from this virus, and one special group is at
particular risk: pregnant women.

What's new on the vaccine?
The good news is that the vaccine for H1N1 Influenza (swine flu)
virus is very closely related to the usual annual flu vaccine,
making the chance of unexpected side effects more remote.
Further, the vaccine gives adults protection within 10 days
(rather than the expected 3 weeks) and requires only 1 dose
(instead of the expected 2 doses).
As of this date, we have no such information regarding how
many doses children will need.

Who should get the vaccine?
At this point, the H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) virus
appears to cause only very mild illness in nearly all
healthy people who catch it. And so for healthy
children, unless the illness becomes more dangerous,
Advanced Pediatrics is not yet recommending
all children get the new H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) virus
It is very important that all pregnant women receive this
vaccine as soon as they can. Please contact your
obstetrician now to see how you can get this vaccine

If your child gets a cold, or flu-like illness, how
worried should you be about H1N1 Influenza
(swine flu)?
Please read this answer carefully, it is a very important
Knowing how worried to be about Illnesses from the
H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) virus is no different than
any other illness.
If you have a mild illness, there is nothing to be worried about
beyond managing the discomfort.
You only need to be worried if you have symptoms of
serious illness and these are:
1. Struggling to get air in and out of the chest
2. Severe pain
3. Stiff neck (i.e., cannot touch chin to chest)
4. Altered consciousness (unable to awaken to
normal alertness)
H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) virus is like all other illnesses, if
you have mild fever, achiness, runny nose, or cough, it really
is a mild illness, even if H1N1 Influenza (swine flu) virus is causing
Bottom Line:
It's not the name of the virus that determines how
concerned to be, but rather the severity of the illness.

Dr. Lavin

The comments contained in this electronic source of information do not constitute and are not designed to imply that they constitute any form of individual medical advice. The information provided is purely for informational purposes only and not relevant to any person's particular medical condition or situation. If you have any medical concerns about yourself or your family please contact your physician immediately. In order to provide our patients the best uninfluenced information that science has to offer,we do not accept samples of drugs, advertising tchotchkes, money, food, or any item from outside vendors.

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