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H1N1, why not? 
27th-Oct-2009 10:46 pm
Today I journalled about H1N1 and its closeness to home. That spawned a bunch of comments and a difference of opinion between people who were really worried about it and those who believe it's just a bunch of media hype. Behind the cut are three questions about H1N1. The last one is based on comments people made in response to my journal post, with one or two gratuitous ones thrown in. Feel welcome to add your own comments about H1N1, how it's affecting you and your part of the world, and whether you think it's as bad as made out in the media.

This is a subject that seems to invite passionate responses, so feel free to be passionate, all I ask is that if you disagree with someone else's point of view, be respectful and attack the argument, not the person.

Which of the following statements do you more closely identify with?

H1N1 really scares me.
H1N1 is just a bunch of media hype, I'm not worried about it at all.

Assuming that the vaccine for H1N1 is available to you, will you get vaccinated?

I already have
I definitely will
I probably will
I haven't decided yet
I probably won't
I definitely won't

Which of the following statements do you agree with? (Select as many as apply).

I'm not a member of a group that is more susceptible to contracting H1N1 and therefore I'm not too worried
The vaccine isn't available in my area yet and that worries me
People are dying from H1N1, so getting vaccinated against it is a no-brainer for me
The media is blowing H1N1 way out of proportion
President Obama has declared a state of emergency because of H1N1, so there's obviously good reason to be concerned about it.
I don't want to get vaccinated because I often get sick right after I get a flu shot
I don't think kids should get vaccinated because for children, the flu vaccine has side effects that can be worse than the flu
Even if you get sick from the vaccine, it's still a lot better than getting H1N1
All flus come with a death toll. H1N1 is no more deadly than regular flu.
Vaccines just make the virus stronger
People born before 1950 don't need to get vaccinated, they have natural antibodies that will help them fight H1N1
If H1N1 mutates with the seasonal flu, this will be worse than the pandemic of 1918
This poll was written by a gay man and therefore it is not valid
Think of the children, for God's sake won't someone think of the children?
28th-Oct-2009 06:31 am (UTC)
Hee! Your last two answers made me laugh.

On the first question and most, I think that I fall in between. I'm not anxious about it or overly worried, but...OTOH, I have OCD and anxiety disorder (a fear of germs!) so I worry about ALL illnesses. I freak out if someone coughs near me at the best of times. I also have some chronic illnesses that make it especially difficult for me to be sick, but I don't believe my life would be in more danger than anyone else's. But...I've heard that H1N1 can make some people vomit and that scares me WAYYYY more than possibly dying from it. *g*

I plan to get vaccinated if it's possible for the reasons above. I'm not afraid of the vaccine.

The 12-year-old daughter of friends of ours (former neighbors) died of H1N1 a couple of weeks ago. That hits a little close to home. My kids are older, but my youngest is in the age range to be somewhat vulnerable, and he lives in a college dorm where illnesses spread quickly. I've advised him to get the vaccine if it becomes available at his school. If it doesn't and it's available here, I'll try to make sure he gets it over Thanksgiving or Christmas break.

About the state of emergency: for once I believe what I read in the press--that this is about lifting red tape to help get resources where they need to be more quickly. I don't think it means it's time to panic.

I also believe the press has blown this whole thing way out of proportion and, as per usual, they are just scaring people more and keeping the fear alive as much as possible because that means ratings for them.

Edited at 2009-10-28 06:33 am (UTC)
28th-Oct-2009 07:08 am (UTC)
This poll was written by a gay man and therefore it is not valid

Can I hold this answer in reserve? Like, to get you back over our "because America" have-to, like at some point where I actually run out of argument?

Mass media these days has a lack of subtly. What it needs to say is that "you need to be worried slightly to somewhat more than you worry about disease in general." That level of clarity is, seemingly, nigh impossible, quite possibly because of people's perceptions of what is understandable.

It's a problem. H1N1 isn't media hype, but the public is so jaded that the media needs hype to even notice a topic. Ergo it was oversold and now considered somewhere at the level of hoax. That's wrong. People should be worried enough to take action if they're in certain circumstance.

But no one's going to get that, which is nothing but annoying.
28th-Oct-2009 10:15 am (UTC)
I have been blessed with a strong constitution when it comes to illness. I've never been vaccinated for ordinary seasonal flu and yet have never been sick with it; I'm a healthy woman so I'm not really any more worried about H1N1 than I would be about seasonal flu.
28th-Oct-2009 10:34 am (UTC)
I was really debating about this, and after a lot of though and research and talking to people, I have decided I will get the vaccine. If anything, I'm mostly worried about my son. I'll get the vaccine first and see if there are any side effects, etc., for a couple weeks and then I'll get him done. He's not 6 months until the beginning of December so he can't get it done yet anyway.
28th-Oct-2009 10:37 am (UTC)
Government. Released. Virus. Someone somewhere used it to cover something up, it spiralled out of control, bada-bing we have pandemic.

Really, I have no idea. I know I'm not too worried about it for me, because I know how to take care of myself, but I do tend to worry about those who don't. I think it could become a pandemic of epic proportions, but I don't know that it will. It coming back with the flu season, though; I'd say we've got to learn to get used to it. Adapt, vaccines, whatever helps. Or just ignore it and will it to go away. Believe it or not, I believe that would work too.
28th-Oct-2009 12:12 pm (UTC)
i'm at risk since i have asthma and being overweight. plus i live in a garage..and it gets pretty cold in there. so i'm basically outside. :/ so OF COURSE i'm scared. i have bad luck too. so yeah...vaccine for me!!
28th-Oct-2009 12:16 pm (UTC)
also, my niece had it. she looked like total shit. she didn't eat or drink for days (she'd puke everything up anyway) and lost 10 lbs cuz of it. she had to be rushed to the hospital to get fluids. she's ok now. but we were damn lucky the rest of us didn't get it
28th-Oct-2009 01:24 pm (UTC)
Poor kid... glad she's better now. That's pretty scary.
28th-Oct-2009 12:22 pm (UTC)
For the first answer, like some of the other comments, I'm between the two. I'm not at all scared myself, but I understand the concern of others and don't think that it's *just* hype.

For the second, I probably wouldn't bother to get the vaccine myself, but Peace Corps does require us to get flu shots (I'm a PC Volunteer), so if they can get their hands on some Swine, I'm sure they'll have us take it.
28th-Oct-2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
It's the flu. I don't usually bother with flu shots for myself, so I'm not going to get the H1N1 shot either. I will get it for my son as soon as my ped's office has it available. Already got him the seasonal flu vax.

I think the flu sucks...I don't think it's to be taken lightly, but I'm not "worried" about it in the sense that I feel like I need to rearrange my life or change my plans to try to avoid germs.
28th-Oct-2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
For the first one, I'm not scared, because I think that would be silly. However, when I was about twelve, I was obsessed with the 1918 flu. So that clouds my judgment a bit and swings me toward the "worried" category. Just because.
28th-Oct-2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
I read somewhere that the vaccine was grown on eggs or something like that, does anyone know if that's true? I'm egg intolerant..
28th-Oct-2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
it is grown IN eggs, they break open the top and inject it into the yolk and it matures in there.
28th-Oct-2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
Oh okay, do you think that would have anything to say with my egg intolerance?
28th-Oct-2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
Actually, they're using insect cells to grow the H1N1 vaccine. It grows more quickly that way.
28th-Oct-2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
While other flu vaccines are grown in eggs, the vaccine for H1N1 is grown in insect cells (according to several online sources. You can do a search on it yourself if you're worried ^_^).
28th-Oct-2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
I *still* have to think about it, but I have two very good reasons to get it, so I'm leaning slightly that way.
28th-Oct-2009 02:32 pm (UTC)
I had it last week and my husband has it this week. It is the most miserable thing I've ever been through. Surviveable, but yeesh, if I could've had a vaccine, I would've had it. (I did get the seasonal flu vaccine already.)

Meanwhile, I am worried my 1½ year old daughter is going to get it, because she's just so little. Yet the vaccines that are finally coming to our area are not going to be in enough supply to even cover the people who show up and wait hours in line to get it.

I am completely undecided on whether I should wait in line with her after she has already been exposed to it through both of her parents and chance not getting it at all.

Also -- several of my friends are like, "AREN'T YOU WORRIED? PEOPLE ARE DYING?" What the hell am I supposed to do that I'm not already doing? I am too tired from the flu to panic. Even though I feel a little panicky...
28th-Oct-2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
Tempted to pick one of the last two since they made me giggle. ;)

I can certainly understand the perspective of those who are worried because they have young children or close elderly relatives, but on my own behalf I'm not particularly concerned. It's not going to be fun to catch, but I'm not in a danger category, and I live alone and honestly don't get out that much. :P

The media is sensationalist and will work itself up onto a lather whenever possible. I'm not any more concerned about this than I would be about the regular flu.
28th-Oct-2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
I have gotten it and survived, so not too worried about it.
28th-Oct-2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
I don't think we shouldn't take it seriously, because any version of the flu can be serious, results in time off from work and school, can really knock you out for a while, and can lead to complications, hospitalization, and death in a minority of cases.

HOWEVER. I think that the media has been hyping it way too much. One flyer I saw (before the agency sagely retracted it), practically likened the "H1N1 Pandemic" to a national emergency, and offered tips that one would expect for post-9/11 or a winter storm emergency, such as "garbage pick-up service may have a prolonged delay, so keep lots of large trash bags on hand" and "keep at least a week's worth of non-perishable foods on hand" and "be prepared to deal with your children's fears and worries about the pandemic."

I went ahead and got the vaccine because my employer was offering it, and it was free. =X
28th-Oct-2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
With almost all of these ZOMG-IT'S-THE-END-OF-THE-WORLD disease outbreaks, I'm of the mind that it's no where near as horrible as the media makes it out. I see H1N1 as a threat, but no more so than the regular flu.

Over a month ago, I heard the statistic that 'at least 25' students on my campus had come down with the swine flu - about 1% of our 2600 student school. I feel like that's probably a bit inflated - our health center is treating everything that even remotely looks like H1N1 as if it were, since lab tests take longer than it takes for people to recover. The number of supposedly infected people has grown in the past month, and I can think of at least 5 people I know personally who have had it. It worries me, but no more so than the flu does each year.
28th-Oct-2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
I actually never even get the regular flu shot normally. I did tick that I'd "probably" get the H1N1 shot this year though, only because I'm pregnant and my doctor has advised that flu shots would be a good idea.
29th-Oct-2009 01:35 am (UTC)
I'm old enough to have some immunity but I'll still get the shot when I can (I already got the regular flu). I'm worried about my kids though. One is immune compromised because of medication but when he went to the doctor the other day, no vaccine was available. The other is in college, which seems to be like living in a petri dish.
29th-Oct-2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
I've never had a flu vaccine nor any form of the flu itself, I'm not in a danger category, and I don't know anyone who's had H1N1 (or even anyone who's had normal flu so far this year)... so I don't exactly feel threatened. I suppose you could say that as someone who's hardly suffered anything worse than a cold (and even that, rarely), I'm feeling pretty cocky. :P

Mind you, boasting about it might be tempting fate somewhat. The phrase "plague rain down upon me" comes to mind. *Puts up an umbrella*
30th-Oct-2009 03:39 am (UTC)
31st-Oct-2009 12:47 am (UTC)
The thing is, if you aren't exposed to all the media hype it really doesn't seem like a big deal at all. I think people like to get excited about things just because everyone else is.
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