Thursday, October 29, 2009

Serious Questions

I'm feeling worried, confused and sometimes a little unsure who to trust.

My husband and I have been discussing the H1N1 vaccine and other plans of action to protect our family. We feel that erring on the side of caution is the better course. How would we feel if we could have prevented one of our children from being seriously ill, or worse dying, and we hadn't taken precautions?

But. How far do we go? Yes we're going to get the vaccine. According to certain articles, I'm in an at risk age group. Several children of varying ages have now died in Canada. And while we hear that the numbers are still fairly low, would you risk your child's life?

But what about attending school? As far as we're concerned, our teenager goes unless there is some indication it's not safe. But what about the twins in pre-school? We still have to pay the tuition whether they go or not, but going is not an absolute necessity. So do we pull them now, till we can get the vaccine? And if we do, does that mean we all hole up in the house till then?

WHO and Canadian health officials are saying, 'don't travel if you're sick', 'make sure to get the vaccine', but 'go ahead with Halloween plans, no need for a healthy child to skip'. So, which is it? I mean I can't think of a better way for tons of people to meet other tons of people and just one person with the bug could spread it far. Then again, we've had no cases anywhere near here. I don't think we'll be staying home. Our neighborhood barely does Halloween anyways, so we usually visit just three streets. Not so bad.

You know, I never thought I'd have to make these kinds of decisions in my lifetime. Protecting the kids from violence, sex offenders that kind of stuff of course. But an unseen virus that is killing people? No, never considered a pandemic.

There is a community of people (mainly online) here in Canada who are speaking out against getting the vaccine and are saying that H1N1 is a made up thing to scare people's where they get weird - into doing what? Getting a free shot? Not so sure these people are sane.

Then again, my husband and I do not believe in getting the annual flu shot. Normal flues are part of life and the thing is, if we let our bodies fight them, our immune systems handle them. But super shooting everyone contributes a great deal to these superbugs developing.

How are you guys handling this? Or have you even thought about it? What do you think about the conspiracy theories? Or do you think it's not a conspiracy but maybe just blown out of proportion? Are you getting the shot?


Gordo said...

We've always gotten the seasonal flu shot. Primarily, it became a habit when my elderly MIL was alive and living with us, but also because I've never had the flu in that time. I have had full-on influenza and it's not an experience I want to have again.

I wasn't convinced about the H1N1 shot until those two kids died. Otherwise healthy 11 & 13 year olds dropping dead are an awfully good motivator.

As long as parents follow the guidelines, kids at home until they're fever-free for 24 hours, I don't see any reason to keep them home.

I also don't see any need to avoid Halloween. Flu transmission requires bodily fluid contact (saliva or mucous) and there won't be any more of that trick or treating than there would be at school. That said, I'm anticipating an awful lot of doctors and nurses at the door this year. :-D

I'm not sure what the weirdos are on about. It makes about as much sense as medical professionals who refuse to get the seasonal flu shot.

Clowncar said...

"to scare people into doing what? Getting a free shot?" is very funny. And accurate.

Those anti-vaxers are a pretty paranoid lot. We got the shots because - as G said - kids were dying.

Give up Halloween? I'd rather give up Christmas!

JustCallMeJo said...

Please, at very least, get the seasonal shot, all of you. H1N1 shots may not be available to the grownups but hopefully are to the short people.

Flu shots are not a conspiracy. I see people dying with is frequently....young people. I'm seeing them in every hospital I go to in town (which is a lot). Not one of my respiratory failure patients (due to flu) had gotten the shot beforehand. I have not seen a single person who HAD gotten the shot before.

Send your kids to school, vaccinated with the seasonal at very least, which is readily available.
/Jo, RN

JustCallMeJo said...

p.s. As to your immune systems fighting it naturally, yes. The flu shot is the virus itself, with its genetic string modified so that it cannot reproduce itself. (The nasal spray H1N1 is live virus, be careful with that.)

That IS natural. Your immune system IS being called upon to fight the pathogen. You're just getting a smaller exposure than having someone sneeze all over you repeatedly, allowing your immune system to build up without being overwhelmed.

The flu shot is as natural as the MMR. Mumps and measles no longer kill kids.
/Jo, RN

Patty said...

Hi Maggie
I just ask this same question on my blog. I was wondering what everyone thought of this new vaccine. They are giving it to the schools here, or at lest they were until they ran out. Also our health dept have set up clinics for the shot. They are encouraging all pregnant woman to get it and also for young children.
Does the shot scare me..Yes, it is something new and a lot is not known about the long term affects yet, but the thought of my grandson who is 4 Or his mom (my duaghter) who is 6 months pregnant dying scares me more.
(both him and his mom got the shot).
Is the news making a big deal out of this flu? Proabably..but it is a no win situation. If they don't tell the public to get the shot then they will be accused of keeping things from the public.
All I can say is weigh the options and make the choice that you feel is best for your own family.

Gordo said...

The boys' school hit 22% absent today. Kingston's officially a "hot spot". We're not getting any extra resources, though

Maggie said...

Gordo, we've decided to do Halloween for sure. There is just no indication it would be dangerous at this time.

Clowncar, ha. I'd sooner give up Hallween than Christmas, but its a close second for sure.

JustCallMeJo, I haven't heard from you in so long! I'm so glad you stopped by. We've decided to get the H1N1 and we found out that in our area, it will be available for children 5yo and under and anyone who lives with them on Nov 9th. Which means we're going there that week and getting it. As for the seasonal, perhaps I should reconsider my thoughts on this. It's just that it seems like we fight these germs with these shots and then the germs just mutate to get stronger. I've always figured that if we let nature do it, then the germ runs its course and dies. And we seem to be a very strong constitutional family. We don't get the flu. I did as a kid, but haven't as an adult, and my children never get sick except with colds. But we did immunize for all the major stuff. And I'm not against immunization in general. I will think this over. Btw, do you know, if we get the
H1N1 shot, would we still need to get the seasonal if we decided to do it? Thanks for the info too, I appreciate it.

Patty, everything you say is true. I decided to get the H1N1 vaccination because I just can't take that kind of risk with my family, you know. How would we feel if one of our kids got sick and died? Not a thing to toy with I think. And as for the crazies, well they can take their chances, as long as they stay away from me and mine. (I've heard some doctors are objecting to getting it. This I think is unacceptable and they shouldn't be allowed to work until the pandemic dies out.)

Gordo, stay safe man. How come the shots aren't getting to your area? Of course here, waiting two weeks feels a bit like eternity.

Gordo said...

The shots are here, but the organiztion of the vaccination clinics has been bungled. They put out the lists of "priority" recipients and then proceeded to not turn anybody away from the clinics. Nobody likes a 5 or 6-hour wait for anything.

The absenteeism is down today, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for that to continue. I can't get it until I finally lose this cold, anyway.

Interestingly, Wired has an article this month about parents skipping vaccinations for their kids and how that's dangerous for all of us.

Dick said...

Pat & I are in the older group who already have been exposed to the Swine Flu in the 1950s so we will probably not get that shot. However we have both already gotten the seasonal one and I guess you do need both if you are in the younger group that has not had prior exposure to the Swine version, although I expect the current one is at least a bit different from the one 50 years ago.

Maggie said...

Gordo, its scary to me that there seems to be no organization (here or US) about emergency situations. They certainly can't claim to be. Why is that? Two countries of the modern world, with plenty of money and resources?

Dick, I had no idea there was a swine flu 50 years ago. Wow.