Monday, October 5, 2009

Get your flu shots.

Please do not post your anti-vaccination polemics here, if you want to be a carrier for pandemic deadly illness, keep that to yourself. That is not something I can discuss rationally, you might as well discuss why you're a better driver when you're drunk, or try to explain that GW Bush didn't lie about Iraq. Vaccination is not only good for you, it's good for everyone's health. We really could blunt a lot of the effect of the pandemic this year if people would just act responsibly. This is not a matter of individual choice, it is a matter of collective responsibility.

Again, write your own blog if you want to argue. This is a heads-up for the wise.

I am getting some early signs that H1N1 and the seasonals might be a real problem this flu season. In my own life I have two cases, one from a colleague who was at a health-care conference in Florida, and another case in the daughter of a friend of mine in New Mexico. The sick daughter is a 19 year-old student at the University of New Mexico. These are not cases incubating in New York City.

Here's what you need to know. There are two flu vaccines, the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine. You have to take them two weeks apart. You can take the seasonal now, the H1N1 vaccine is going out this week. To get yourself protected ASAP, you need to have had the seasonal for three weeks before you can take the H1N1. That means if you got your seasonal flu shot today, you can get the H1N1 on 10/19.

If you can get the pneumococcal vaccine too, that looks like a good idea, because a lot of the people who have died from H1N1 were also suffering from a variety of bacteria pneumonia that this vaccine protects against.

Of course, if I could predict the future I'd be a lottery winner, but it looks like this may be a tough flu season. If you can get vaccinated, and you're wondering what my opinion is, well, you should get vaccinated, soon, so you don't end up being a public health menace yourself, even if you one of those people who believes they don't get the flu.