Swine Flu (H1N1) Vaccine
Will the seasonal flu vaccine protect against the H1N1 flu?
The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.
While everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine each flu season, itâ€™s especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:
Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
People 50 years of age and older
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
Health care workers
Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
What about the use of antivirals to treat H1N1 infection?
Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. To date, the CDC has recommended that healthcare providers cautiously prescribe antivirals for those persons with severe illness or those at higher risk for flu complications. Hence, not all patients will be treated with an antiviral medication.
Links to other information
Information regarding influenza is available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site at CDC Flu Information.
State and local health departments can be contacted for information regarding the availability of the influenza vaccine, access to vaccination programs, and information about state or local influenza activity.
By Daniel Feiten MD