By Dr. Keren Call, pediatrician and board member of the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition
Swine flu. H1N1. Scary stuff right?
I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing a lot of information about H1N1, sometimes called swine flu, every day – on TV, on the internet, in the newspaper. Moms have lots of questions about how to prevent H1N1, how safe the vaccine will be, and how can they best protect their family.
With the development of the H1N1 flu strain, the biggest thing to remember is not to panic. There is a lot of news and headlines preparing us for the WORST CASE SCENARIO. The predictions on infection rates are just that, predictions. The constant stream of information can be scary, but it is unknown what will really happen with the spread of H1N1 this flu season.
The good news is we DO know a lot about flu and H1N1. We know that we can prevent seasonal flu with a flu shot right now. We know that the H1N1 vaccine will be distributed in October. We know that the H1N1 vaccine will be safe. We know that the most vulnerable people – pregnant moms, children from birth to 24 years, and adults 25 to 64 who have underlying medical conditions – should get the vaccine first. We know that if your baby is under six months and is too young to get the vaccine, that everyone around the baby should be vaccinated. We also know that there should be enough vaccine for everyone who wants it; it just might take some time.
I do want to take some time to go through some specific questions I’ve heard from moms about H1N1: