Also known as H1N1, the swine flu is a topic of concern among individuals of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Since early spring, the media has been relaying warnings to people world wide as to just how to diagnose, treat and prevent this potentially life-threatening flu virus.
While people of all ages and backgrounds should be practicing proper hygiene in order to prevent infection, the swine flu is known to be much more harmful to individuals of certain age groups and those suffering from preexisting health conditions.
Individuals matching specific criteria will be offered the swine flu vaccine before the general public, including:
Health Care Workers
The backbone of any healthy community, health care workers are at a very high risk of infection of the swine flu due to exposure to ill individuals and large groups in general.
Parents and Caregivers of Infants Under the Age of Six Months
This particular age group is known to suffer from serious complications caused by the infection of flu viruses. Unfortunately, the H1N1 vaccination cannot be safely administered to infants under the age of six months. Due to these circumstances, parents, caregivers, and anyone in close contact with infants in this age group will receive vaccinations in order to prevent exposure to the children.
During pregnancy, women are at a rather high risk of developing complications and illnesses due to stresses on the immune system. Since unborn infants are protected by only the immune system of the mother, experts believe that providing an H1N1 vaccination to pregnant mothers will also aid in the protection of the unborn infant.
Individuals Ages Six Months to Eighteen Years
Children and young adults in this specific age group typically attend educational facilities such as schools, and events that attract large numbers of people such as sporting events, thus creating an overwhelming risk of exposure to the swine flu virus.
Infants and very young children that are not of school age may attend preschool and day care services in which groups of children are in close contact. This also creates a risk for exposure to the swine flu virus.
Individuals Ages Nineteen to Twenty-Four Years
Due to the fact that this age group is often much more active and social than other groups, the risk of exposure to the H1N1 virus is heightened. Many individuals in this particular age group attend educational facilities such as large college campuses, and may work and live in groups, creating a risk for exposure.
Individuals Ages Twenty-Five to Sixty-Four Suffering From Preexisting Health Conditions
The swine flu has shown to be quite potent to individuals suffering from certain health conditions, particularly those with respiratory involvement. The H1N1 virus causes respiratory symptoms which may create life-threatening conditions in individuals suffering from these types of preexisting health problems.