Thank God...we are getting better now.I never expected a common flu can cause so much of problems until I personally experienced it.
Actually,Influenza is a common cause of serious illness and death. About 5% of adults and 20% of children develop symptomatic influenza infection each year.
The typical symptoms include:
-Temperature between 38°C and 39°C
-Feeling weak and tired.
Symptoms typically last about three days.
- Complications include:
-Primary influenza pneumonia
-Worsening of pre-existing diseases, such as cardiac failure.
After going through the difficult part of the illness,I decided to vaccinate my whole family against seasonal flu using the seasonal trivalent influenza vaccine 2010 which also contains the H1N1 pandemic strain.
How effective is the influenza vaccine?
In two studies, vaccination was about 80% effective at preventing influenza in children.4 5 The studies looked at patients with symptomatic infections, which were confirmed in the laboratory.
- Adults of working age
In two studies vaccination was 77% effective at preventing influenza in adults of working age.6 7 Again, the studies looked at patients with symptomatic infections, which were confirmed in the laboratory.
- Older people
Vaccination is less effective in older people. It is about 50% effective at preventing episodes of influenza (which were confirmed in the laboratory) in older people.It reduced
the number of influenza-like episodes by 35% and hospital admission for pneumonia and influenza-like illnesses by 47%.
Current influenza vaccines aren't as effective as they could be for several reasons.
It's often because the person being vaccinated doesn't mount an adequate immune response. This may be because of old age, or diseases or drugs that cause immunocompromise. But older people and people with a compromised immune system are the groups that are most at risk of the complications of influenza.
Even when there is an adequate immune response to the vaccine, there may be poor concordance between the viral antigens in the vaccine and those that are causing infections in the community. This is because it isn't possible to predict the antigenic nature of the viruses that will be circulating during the coming winter.
Despite the easy availability of the vaccines,many are still reluctant to have this jab.There are many excuses for not having this injections.I was also sceptical to have the H1N1 vaccine..as written in my blog few months ago.
- An old man says he had the vaccine last year and still got "flu." Why?
He may not have had influenza. There are many respiratory pathogens circulating during the influenza season that also lead to flu-like symptoms, such as rhinovirus, which has more that 100 serotypes. Influenza vaccination won't prevent infections with other respiratory viruses. Such viruses can cause an influenza-like illness. But the illness isn't usually as severe as influenza, and it isn't life threatening.
A 76 year old woman says she had the influenza vaccine two years ago and it gave her "flu." She says she never wants to have it again. What should you say to her?
Influenza vaccine can't cause influenza because it is an inactivated vaccine. The vaccine is inactivated and can't cause influenza.
It's likely that she had some other respiratory virus. But it's possible that she could have been exposed to influenza just after vaccination, at a time when she had not yet mounted an immune response. The delay between vaccination and effective protection is about two weeks. The best time to be vaccinated is therefore at the very beginning of the influenza season.
A 68 year old woman comes to see you the day after having the influenza vaccine. She says she felt feverish and developed a headache about nine hours after receiving it. She wonders what the problem is. What should you say to her?
Fever, headache, and malaise can occur after having the influenza vaccine. But these symptoms occur in only a minority of patients. They typically start six hours to 12 hours after exposure to the vaccine. But they are usually mild and settle down after one or two days. So you should reassure her.
- A 78 year old man wonders why he should have the influenza vaccine. He has never been seriously ill and he has never been in hospital. What should you say to him?
Influenza can be a serious illness. Primary influenza pneumonia is rare, but it has a high death rate.
The overall death rate for influenza is 0.5 per 1000 patients to 1 per 1000 patients
The hospitalisation rate for influenza is 2 per 1000 persons older than 65
About 90% of influenza associated deaths are among people older than 65
In winters when the incidence of influenza is low, about 4000 people die from influenza. But there were 29 000 deaths in 1989.
So you should still urge him to have the vaccine.
A 66 year old man with a history of stroke has read about the influenza vaccine. He read that the vaccine can cause strange neurological illnesses. What should you say to him?
Influenza vaccination does not cause strokes, so you can reassure him on that count. He may have read about Guillain-Barre syndrome. But this is exceedingly rare. The link between the vaccine and Guillain-Barre syndrome has not been definitively proved. It occurs at a rate of about one additional case per million people vaccinated.
- What about someone who forgot to have the influenza vaccine and now there is an outbreak of influenza. What should you advise her?
She can still have the vaccine. But antibody levels take 10 to 14 days to rise after vaccination. If she has been exposed to the influenza virus and the exposure has been in the past 48 hours, you could give her oseltamivir(Tamilflu) to prevent her getting influenza.
If influenza A or influenza B is circulating in the community, you should consider oseltamivir(Tamilflu) for the post-exposure prophylaxis of influenza in people who:
-Have been exposed to someone with an influenza-like illness in the past 48 hours
-Are at risk of complications of influenza
-Are not adequately protected by vaccination.
You should consider people not to be adequately protected by vaccination if:
-They haven't received the vaccine
-The vaccine has yet to take effect
-The vaccine and the circulating strain of influenza are not well matched.
So guys...don't be afraid.Go ahead and have the jab!!