This H1N1 flu virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person to person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.
A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu infection. For this flu season, we have the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 flu vaccine to protect us against the circulating flu viruses.
There are also everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like the flu. Healthy behaviors such as covering one’s coughs and sneezes, frequent handwashing and staying out of contact with sick individuals are also important actions that prevent the virus’ spread.
Many people approach vaccinations with caution. Here are some tips that may help you answer the question, “Should I be vaccinated?”
• I have flu-like symptoms, but have not seen a doctor or taken any medication for it. Should I be vaccinated?
Yes. If you were sick with flu-like symptoms and did not have a confirmatory test done by the Ohio Health Department ordered by your physician, you still can receive the H1N1 flu vaccine.
• I have been sick with flu-like symptoms and taking antiviral medication treatment as prescribed by my doctor, but do not have a confirmatory test of H1N1. Should I receive the vaccine?
Yes. CDC recommends you still can receive the H1N1 shot anytime during or after treatment. However, you must wait two weeks until you are able to receive the nasal spray/ flu-mist version of the vaccine.
• I have received antiviral medication for 10 days to prevent H1N1 infection, prescribed by my doctor. Should I receive the vaccine?
Yes. However, CDC recommends waiting around two weeks until you can receive the H1N1 flu mist (nasal vaccine). H1N1 flu shot can be received even when you are taking or anytime after finishing your medication.
• I am pregnant, should I be vaccinated for H1N1?
Yes. Pregnant women should be vaccinated; however, if you are pregnant, you cannot receive the nasal spray/ flu-mist version of the vaccine. Pregnant women should get the H1N1 flu shot.
These are some of the most common questions being asked regarding the H1N1 vaccine. If you have more questions, please contact your family physician. You can also visit memorialhcs.org/flu-information to find up-to-date info regarding H1N1 outbreaks and vaccine information.
Dr. Arevalo received her medical education from the Cayetano Heredia University of Lima, Peru. Her residency training in Pediatrics took place at Lincoln Medical Center, Cornell University of New York. She completed a Fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology at University School of Medicine in New York.