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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

The Return of the H1N1 Flu

Published September 2, 2009 1:21 PM by Elizabeth Puliti
Worried about the H1N1 flu? You're not alone. According to a recent national poll, the number of worried Americans has more than doubled since May.

"Back in May, concerns about the flu were ebbing because flu season in the U.S. was nearing its end," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland told CNN. "But the flu didn't go away-it just moved to other places around the world. Now a new flu season is starting, and worries about H1N1 are back."

Most Americans have confidence that the government would be able to prevent a nationwide epidemic, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released this morning. And two-thirds of adult Americans would get a H1N1 flu shot if one became available.

Do you think people have a right to be worried? Or is the media creating unnecessary fear?

posted by Elizabeth Puliti


I was just thinking about this topic this week.  I've never gotten the flu shot or had my kids get it.  Mainly because with six healthy people in our family the cost/benefit ratio isn't worth it.  With our copay it would cost us $150 to get the shots.  That can buy a lot of OTC meds for palliative symptom treatment.  Given that the normal flu shot is a crap shoot (contains 3-4 strains of flu that are most likely to hit an area).  Last year, for example, none of the flu strains in the shot hit our region.  Noone received any immunization for the flu strains that hit here.  Everyone who got the flu shot might as well have flushed the money down the toilet for all the good it did them.  So we usually take our chances.  

But this year is different, or at least the swine flu vaccine is different.  They know the specific strain.  So those who receive the H1N1 vaccination know what they are getting and know what they are supposed to be protecting themselves against.  But just like every other vaccine, there is no guarantee of immunity (like kids who get the chicken pox vaccine, then get the chicken pox anyway).  But your odds sure go up substantially when you know what you are dealing with.

As far as the media.  Just this week I saw something about the number of cases and deaths so far.  The numbers were much higher than I expected.  But are they being honest?  Who knows?  

When the media first began reporting, their information was definitely sensationalized.  They left out important facts, like none of the initial deaths were in healthy humans.  All of the deaths occurred in immunocompromised individuals.  Because of their deceptive reporting when H1N1 surfaced, I can't believe anything they say now.

I know the media creates unnecessary fear; that is how they sell papers and get ratings.  I have no idea if what is currently being touted is trumped up or genuine.  Still not sure if we'll get the vaccine.  Probably not, but I'm considering a flu shot for the first time in my life.

anonymous September 8, 2009 12:41 AM

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