People don’t take influenza as seriously as they once did, but it’s still just as deadly and something to be wary of. The 1918 epidemic killed more people than all the other epidemics combined, even more than the Black Death of the Middle Ages.
A mutated form of that strain of avian flu still remains and the current H1N1 virus may be related to it. Flu strains mutate like all viruses do, and if the H1N1 mutates into something that’s airborne, we are in serious trouble.
Each years epidemiologists scamper to try to figure out which strains of flu will be prevalent that year. The typical flu vaccine usually contains three or four of the many strains of flu virus.
The vaccine for 2011 will also contain the H1N1 vaccine so there will be no need to get two shots. For those non-smokers among you, you can get the vaccine in a nasal spray if you are afraid of the hypodermic needle.
Some people are still leery of getting the flu vaccine because of scares in the past, particularly of paralysis associated with the swine flu vaccine of years ago. The cases of complications from that vaccine were very few and the chances of you dying from the flu are much greater than having complications from the shot. And no, it’s not some socialist scheme to inject mind control drugs into millions of people.
It looks like there will be plenty of flu vaccine to go around this year, unlike a few years ago when there were long waits to get the shot. I waited outside in freezing temperatures for four hours to get mine.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “This flu season should be just like every other one: completely unpredictable. Last year’s H1N1 pandemic caused lots of hype because the virus was new, it targeted younger people and it had a separate vaccine. This year the 2009 H1N1 strain will be covered by the regular flu shot, so most people will only need one dose. The vaccine is recommended for everyone older than 6 months and especially for pregnant women, health care workers and people with chronic heart and lung ailments.”
“Pharmacists expect shipments to arrive next month with plenty to go around, said Ryan Moenster, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.”
So one shot and you’re good for the whole year, so there’s really no reason not to get yourself protected. And remember when you inoculate yourself it keeps it from spreading. You may not only save your own life, but someone else’s as well.