Swine Flu Vaccines
The best treatment for influenza infections is prevention by immunization. The swine flu vaccines are made from killed virus particles so a person cannot get the flu from the swine flu vaccines.
A new Swine flu vaccine intradermal (trivalent) is available; it works like the shot except the operation is less painful. It is approved for ages 18-64 years. Almost all swine flu vaccines have some side effects. Common side effects of H1N1/swine flu vaccines (alone or in combination with other flu viral strains) are as follows:
- Swine Flu vaccines: minor swelling at the shot site, Soreness, muscle aches redness, mild fever, and nausea do not usually end more than about 24 hours.
- Nasal spray vaccine: Runny nose, mild fever, vomiting, wheezing, headache, cough, and sore throat. People with a suppressed immune system should not get vaccinated with the nasal spray, As the nasal spray vaccine contains live virus that have been altered to obstruct its ability to replicate in human tissue.
- Intradermal shot: swelling, redness, pain, muscle aches, headache, and fatigue
- Most swine flu vaccines that contain flu viral particles are cultured in eggs, so individuals with an allergy to eggs should not take the vaccine unless tested and advised by their doctor.
- About 1 person in a million who gets the vaccine may develop Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder, which can cause breathing difficulty, weakness or paralysis, bladder/bowel issues, and other nerve issues.
If any symptoms like these develop, see a physician immediately.
What are the risk factors for swine flu?
Swine flu vaccines are particularly important for people who are at increased risk for severe complications from influenza or influenza-related doctor or hospital visits. When swine flu vaccine supply is limited, vaccination efforts should focus on giving priority to the following people :
- All children 6 months to 4 years of age
- All people at the age group of 50+.
- Adults and children with chronic lung, liver, heart, nervous system, blood, metabolic, or neuromuscular issues.
- People who take medications to suppress their immune systems
- People who have HIV.
- Women who are pregnant.
- Children and adolescents (under 18 years of age) who are taking long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for Reye’s syndrome after influenza infection.
- Medical professionals (doctors/residents of nursing home/nurses /health-care personnel treating patients)
- Household contacts and caregivers of children under 5 years of age and adults 50 years of age and older, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children less than 6 months age
- People who are morbidly obese (BMI ≥40)
- Household contacts and caregivers of people with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza
Can swine flu be prevented if the swine flu vaccines (or other flu strain vaccine)are not readily available?
Although vaccination is the best way to prevent the swine flu, there may be times when swine flu vaccines may not be available. Yet there are some other methods available to individuals.
The best way to try to prevent swine flu infection is a combination of methods that are aimed at preventing virus to reach an individual’s mucus membrane cells.
The methods are as follows:
- Inactivate or kill the virus before it reaches a human cell by using soap and water to clean your hands; washing clothing and taking a shower will do the same for the rest of your body.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available, and use sanitizers on objects that many people may touch (for example, doorknobs, computer keyboards, handrails, phones), although some researchers suggest that such sanitizers are generally ineffective.
- Do not touch your mouth, eyes, nose, unless you first do items 1 or 2 above.
- Avoid crowds, parties, and especially people who are coughing and sneezing (most virus-containing droplets do not travel more than 4 feet, so experts suggest 6 feet away is a good distance to stay).
- Avoid touching anything within about 6 feet of an uncovered cough/sneeze, because the droplets that contain virus fall and land on anything usually within that range.
- Studies show that individuals who wear surgical or N95 particle masks may prevent inhalation of some H1N1 virus, but the masks may prevent only about 50% of airborne exposures and offer no protection against surface droplets. However, masks on H1N1 infected people can markedly reduce the spread of infected droplets.
These steps can help prevent an individuals from getting H1N1 and other types of flu, but adherence to them may be difficult for many people. However,according to some investigators, there are some additional methods that may also help prevent viral infections in an unvaccinated individual.
Saline nasal washes and gargling with saline or a commercial product as a way to lower or remove virus from mucus membranes has been suggested. These methods are based on the fact that flu viruses usually take about 2-3 days to replicate in nasal/throat cells.
Many investigators suggest that precautions do not prevent viral infections, although they may help lower the effects of infection by strengthening the individuals immune system to fight infection. Similarly, current antiviral drugs act on H1N1 and other viruses that have already infected cells; they work by preventing or reducing viral particles from clustering and being released from infected cells.
Timing of infection is important; if only a few cells are infected and the antiviral medicines are given quickly (within 48 hours), the viruses are reduced in number (they cannot easily bud out from the cell surface), so few, if any, other respiratory or mucus membrane cells become infected. This can result in either no flu symptoms or, if a larger number of cells were initially infected, less severe symptoms. The overall effect for the person is that the H1N1 or other viral infection was prevented (it was not; the symptoms were prevented from developing) or that symptoms were reduced.
In the strictest sense of the word prevention, even effective vaccines do not “prevent” infections. What they do accomplish is to alert the immune system to be on guard for certain antigens that are associated with a specific disease-causing agent (for example, H1N1 virus, pneumococcal bacteria). When the agent first infects the host, its antigens are recognized, and these cause a rapid immune response to occur that prevents the pathogen from spreading and developing symptoms in the host. People, including physicians and researchers, often term this complex response to vaccination as “prevention of infection,” but what actually occurs is the prevention of further infection so well that symptoms do not develop or are minimal in the host.
In summary, if H1N1 or other viruses fail to contact cells they can infect, the disease will be prevented. As stated above, this is difficult, but not impossible, to do in almost all societies. Prevention of flu symptoms of infection is possible with antiviral medications if these are given very early in the infection. There are many other methods that may reduce the chance of getting the virus on a person’s mucosal surface, but most methods have not been backed up with objective data.
Are there home remedies for swine flu?
There are various swine flu treatments and cures described on the Internet (for example, how cayenne pepper, menthol, or ginseng can be used to treat the flu); Check with a doctor before using any of these home remedies.
However there are many over-the-counter drugs, such as Ibuprofen(Advil and others), Naproxen(Aleve), and Acetaminophen(Tylenol), to lower fever and discomfort, lozenges to relieve a sore throat, and decongestants to help manage mucus and coughing. These drugs help manage swine flu symptoms but do not cure the viral disease.
Swine Flu Symptoms & Facts
Spread the Fact Not the Germ-Protect Yourself from Flu
What Vaccine to Give and When – Immunization Vaccination Schedule
How Do Vaccines Help My Child?
Vaccination TIPs …
Flu Measures to Take, Symptoms and Risk Factors
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