Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More on H1N1

The "Swine Flu" or H1N1 virus is here and still spreading.

The H1N1 vaccine is slowly becoming available as distributors have started shipping out the vaccine.

The question still stands: Should I get the vaccine and should I have my kids get the vaccine?

I had a call today from the mother of a family I have known for quite a while.

Here is a little of the conversation we had:

Mom: Thanks Doc for taking my call !

DrH: No problem! What can I do for you?

Mom: My child's school has been hit with the swine flu. Six (6) kids have already contracted the flu and the school will now be offering the vaccine to all student's, with parent's permission. What is your opinion doc?

DrH: Would you like the short or the long version?

Mom: I would like your answer as a parent first.


Score One for Mom!!!

Right to the point!

BTW, I try to make all my medical decisions as if I were treating my own family. I would not give you any treatment or medication that I would not take if I were sitting in your seat.

But back to the H1N1 question.

The H1N1 virus is here and spreading. So far, this virus has not been any worse than traditional seasonal influenza virus. In fact it seems to be less harmful. Unfortunately, any influenza illness will still cause hospitalizations and some deaths. But the H1N1 flu seems to cause more problems for children as opposed to adults. The theory behind this is that the H1N1 virus causes our immune systems to overcompensate. This overcompensation contributes greatly to the severe illness that can lead to bad outcomes. Children's immune systems appear more prone to overcompensation than adults.

That being said, I am not ready to give this vaccine to my child. This vaccine was rushed into production before proper testing. While I understand the "Why's" of it being rushed, that does not mean that I should recommend the vaccination to my family and my practice. If this vaccination program is a nationwide test of the vaccines ability to prevent H1N1 infection, I prefer not to be a "testee". Please, no puns intended!!

There are a few variables that can change my opinion.

1) If the H1N1 vaccine makes it through proper testing showing both effectiveness against contracting the virus and safety equivalent to or better than the seasonal flu vaccine, then I will advocate for vaccination.

2) If the H1N1 virus does morph or change into a deadlier strain, causing increased hospitalization and death, then the pros and cons of getting the vaccine may tilt towards receiving the vaccine.

As of today, neither of the above have occurred.

But, I do not expect everyone to agree with my views.

As George Patton once said, "If everyone is thinking alike, someone is not thinking!"

So if you want to receive the H1N1 vaccine, please click on the link to a Burlington County Health Department update on the H1N1 Vaccine distribution. It will indicate where you can go to receive the vaccine.

There are other options to help prevent contracting the H1N1 flu.

While not proven by large medical studies, Vitamin D has been shown anecdotally to help prevent and treat influenza.

We do have Vitamin D in the office for those that want to try this method.

We use RX Vitamins Liqui-D3, which is an oil based supplement that contains olive oil and Vitamin D3.

The usual dose is between 1-5 drops a day, equivalent to 2,000 to 10,000 iu per day. It is helpful to obtain a blood test to monitor Vitamin D levels if on this supplement, although I have not yet had anyone have harmfully high levels on the above doses.

To Good Health!!!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Practice
Founder of The Institute For Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone 856-231-0590
Fax 856-294-0311

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