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Swine Flu Swan Song

Nasal spray

The swine flu nasal spray is not recommended for kids under age 2

As our series on the swine flu winds down, so does the nationwide panic over H1N1, as vaccines and nasal spray are finally readily available throughout the country. Health care providers in California have received more than 400,000 doses of H1N1 FluMist, a nasal spray, as well as thousands of doses of the injectable vaccine.

By the end of flu season, California plans to order over 22 million doses of each. To date, more than 2,700 hospitalizations and 206 deaths in California have been caused by the H1N1 flu since April,  according to Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health.

Though both vaccines and the nasal spray are safe for most people, and have been thoroughly tested, it is important to know the facts about all of the treatment options before deciding which one to receive.

The following are advised NOT to take the nasal spray:

The inject-able vaccine has far fewer adverse symptoms and so is possibly a safer choice. Check to see whether it is available in your area. Those especially urged to get the vaccine include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children ages 6-24 months old
  • People who spend time around infants
  • Health care providers
  • Anyone with a chronic illness who is especially susceptible to disease

Something else to consider: One of the swine flu vaccine manufacturers,one of the swine flu vaccine manufacturers, Sanofi Pasteur, suggests that children under age 10 are likely to need two shots to be fully protected. Federal officials said the news is not surprising, since this age group needs two doses of regular seasonal flu vaccine the very first time they ever are given a flu vaccine, for full immunity to develop.

The new Sanofi results back up what government tests are showing, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. For younger children, the protection from one shot is “modest but not sufficient to allow for one dose to do the trick,” he said.

Though the focus should be on high-risk groups, experts recommend that anyone who wants the vaccine should get it, provided there is enough left-over supply for the general population. Since California is expected to receive over 22 millions doses (with 18 million of them being injectable) by the end of flu season, the likelihood of sufficient doses for everyone is very high.

Remember, obtaining either the nasal spray or vaccine to prevent swine flu is just another way for you to BE SAFE!

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