When the swine flu emerged earlier this year, I was afraid for my family’s safety. I followed the news everyday to check its locations and its new developments. The swine flu seemed to be killing a lot of people when it wasn’t even flu season yet. By then, I was praying to God that medical scientists and experts would come up with a vaccine that would protect us all. News reports and experts advised the public to practice good hygiene by washing our hands frequently, cough into the bend of our elbows, and stay away from sick people. But what happens when one does all of that, but ends up getting sick anyway? That’s exactly what happened to me. I caught the seasonal flu right before the beginning of the summer months. Because of that, I felt that it is necessary to take further steps in order to protect my family and me. I decided to get my family vaccinated for both the seasonal and swine flu virus. I think it is the best move I have made.
Just a few months after my ordeal with influenza, my daughter caught a nasty virus that gave her a fever for over a week. And if that wasn’t bad enough, a month later, she caught the flu. I was devastated because I thought I did everything possible to try and prevent this sickness. I carried anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizers, I washed my hands and my daughter’s hands often, I stayed home as much as possible. But it seems like there’s no telling where the flu bacteria will strike.
When news reports announced that swine flu vaccines are being administered, I was very happy and relieved. The government launched a mass vaccination at local schools and clinics. The lines were very long and chaotic, but it seemed like that was the price people were willing to pay in order to protect themselves. That was also the price I was willing to pay in order to stay disease free. The safety and dangers of the vaccine didn’t even cross my mind until I spoke with some family members and friends. They advised me that I shouldn’t get the H1N1 vaccine because it might be dangerous, that it is still new, and that it will actually cause me to get sick. That was when my determination came to a screeching halt. To get more insights on this new vaccine, I called several different people and all of them gave me the same answers. Fear erupted in me which caused me to postpone my trip to the clinic. I thought the vaccine was supposed to prevent the disease, not cause it. Discouraged, I decided to barricade myself and my daughter in our home and limit our trips to public places. I took it further and increased our daily dose of vitamin C.
After awhile, it felt silly to be in so much fear. I felt trapped in my own home and I felt like a crazy person whenever I do go out in public. I washed and sanitized my hands vigorously and I went as far as making my daughter wear gloves when we were out in public. I thought everything would be fine if I kept up with this fiasco. But then when I heard that someone died from the swine flu at a hospital near my home, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I wasn’t going to allow the swine flu to control my life anymore. I started to do a lot of research on the H1N1 vaccine and weighed out the positives and the negatives. According to the Center For Disease Control, the side effects of the H1N1 vaccine is very rare and if there are side effects, they would be the same as the ones for the seasonal flu. However, if someone is allergic to eggs then that person is advised not to get the H1N1 vaccine since it is is made the same way the regular seasonal flu is made.
I noticed that there were two versions of the vaccine; a shot and a nasal mist. The shot includes a dead virus that will not make a person sick. Some side effects include a very mild fever, minor body aches, and soreness or redness around the shot site. The nasal mist version includes a weakened version of the virus and do not cause full blown flu symptoms, but the side effects may include sore throat, cough, runny nose, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, and wheezing. These symptoms may last about a day or two. After reading this information, I called different clinics to get more information on the H1N1 vaccine. Each clinic pretty much gave me the same answer. There has been no reports of any major problems. I was concerned as to what versions of vaccines to get, so I spoke with a nurse. She told me that pregnant woman should not get the nasal mist as well as people who have a weakened immune system such as AIDS, anyone with a long term illness like kidney disease and diabetes, and people who suffers from cerebral palsy. Children under 2 and adults whom are over 50 are advised to not take the mist as well. By this time I was very confused and worried that the live weakened virus in the mist may actually give my daughter the swine flu. The nurse reassured me and told me that since I have doubts about the nasal mist, she said I should go ahead and get the shot.
After conducting more research, I made up my mind and called the clinic to set up an appointment for my daughter and me. I decided to go with the shot version. I live in Florida; a state that has millions of visitors a year. I feel like we are more susceptible to getting the swine flu. Though I fully understand that the seasonal flu virus may have killed more people than the swine flu, I’m not going to take any chances. It is such a new virus that there is no telling as to just how dangerous it is, even if I’m a healthy 30 year old woman. There is a vaccine out there for me to utilize to protect myself and my family. I strongly feel that it would be very unfortunate if I let a life saving dosage go to waste. It seems like people fear the vaccine more than they fear the actually swine flu. It’s been a week since our H1N1 vaccine shot. My daughter and I did not have any side effects. I can finally sleep at night knowing that if my daughter does get exposed to the H1N1 virus, her immune system is ready to fight it.