Ask Dr. Besser: Common Swine Flu Questions

Certain people who belong to high-risk groups should receive the vaccine first, Besser said.

"For swine flu, groups at greatest risk include health care workers, people under the age of 24, pregnant women, adults or children with any underlying medical conditions that may put them at greater risk, as well as people who have or care for babies younger than 6 months, who are too young to get vaccinated themselves," he said.

Besser also said that those with certain lung conditions are particularly susceptible.

"Anyone who has a chronic lung problem, whether it's emphysema, frequent pneumonia or a condition like cystic fibrosis, those people should get the swine flu vaccine," he said.

7) When will the H1N1 vaccine be available to me?

If you are a member of a high-risk group, you will likely be able to get the H1N1 vaccine soon if you have not already. But for everyone else, it may be weeks yet before it is available.

"It will be mid- to late November before there's enough for everyone who wants it," Besser said.

The good news is that there is enough vaccine on the way to protect everyone.

"There is plenty of vaccine coming," Besser said. "Everyone who wants vaccine will be able to get it. The government has ordered 251 million doses, which is far more than we get for the seasonal flu."

8) Who cannot get the H1N1 vaccine?

While most people can receive either the nasal spray version or the injectable version of the H1N1 vaccine, there is a small group of people who cannot receive either one.

"If your child or you has an allergy to eggs, you cannot get the vaccine -- you cannot get the shot and you cannot get the spray," Besser said.

9) If I think that I have been infected, should I take Tamiflu?

In most cases, even if you think you have been infected with swine flu, Tamiflu should not be necessary, Besser said.

"Swine flu causes a mild infection in most people, and so the good news is that not everyone needs Tamiflu."

But he cautioned that those in high risk groups -- pregnant women, the elderly and children under age 5 -- may have a harder time dealing with a flu infection. Those people, he said, should probably talk to their doctors about possibly getting Tamiflu.

10) What can people do, in addition to getting the H1N1 vaccine, to protect themselves and others?

In addition to vaccinations, hygienic workplace practices are essential components to protecting yourself and others from cold and flu infections.

"Good hand hygiene means washing your hands regularly or using a hand gel and not shaking hands if you have a cold," Besser said. "In terms of respiratory etiquette, cover your mouth with your elbow, shoulder or tissue when you cough or sneeze, those things will be helpful. ... And if you're sick, don't come to work."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937055. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937055. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937055. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937055. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937055. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937055. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937055. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937055. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937055. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8937055.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...