Did you read the headlines that said if you have had two shots for seasonal flu then you are twice likely to get H1N1?  Isn’t that more shocking than the disease itself?

Till now, I had been under the impression that if you get a seasonal flu shot then you are “somewhat” protected against Swine flu though it does not completely prevent the invasion of the virus. My belief was based on an article that said that a seasonal flu shot may indeed offer partial protection against H1N1. It says that someone who had immunization against the Influenza may have no severe complications if infected with H1N1. The latest learning that a seasonal flu shot increases your susceptibility to H1N1 virus scares me. But to my relief, it does not speak of a confirmed report.

The symptoms of Swine flu are as similar to those of the seasonal flu or the Influenza. The symptoms include cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, and fatigue and it is quite unpredictable. And flus are quite debilitating to most of the people especially for those who have underlying medical conditions like diabetes.

People with diabetes may land in complications if they contract the virus and hence, they need to get vaccinated both against the seasonal flu virus and also against pneumonia. In September 2009, the health officials in America brought up with emphasis the importance of getting seasonal flu shots. Seasonal flus are as serious as swine flu and from the 20% of the American population who fall sick at least 36,000 die from it every year. The health experts recommended that once the swine flu vaccine was available people also need to get their H1N1 shots. Everyone should immunize themselves against H1N1 virus and most importantly, pregnant women, healthy youngsters below 24 yrs of age and adults above 25 years of age who suffer from any underlying medical conditions or immune compromising diseases. However, the irony about this virus is that even those have received the shots may still contract the disease but with less severity and health risks.

In October 2009, a few websites had their readers dumbfounded with their latest findings. These websites reported that a recent study witnesses the fact those who had immunization against seasonal flu contracted H1N1 more than those who hadn’t. Certain Canadian studies supported this finding while certain Mexican researchers waved it off.  Yet, there was no solid data available in any other country to support their findings. So, no need to panic.

Now, I would like to think that the seasonal flu shot can do no harm nor good against the swine flu. If you want to get protected against the viruses stay clean, eat and drink healthy, get both the shots and get medical attention at the earliest.

-Aparna K V