Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vaccine

The Iceman will not be getting a flu shot this year. There are at least 25 million Canadians at higher risk of harm than me. I have not been afflicted with the flu virus since 2001. My immune system accrued enough experience fighting the flu in my childhood that as an adult my white blood cells cut through pathogens like Patton's Shermans through Lorraine. I worked every event at GM Place for two years, never got sick.

The point that I am trying to make is that healthy adults who have an effective immune response to the flu virus are at a low risk of harm and should not be standing in line-ups for the vaccine with high risk people. Mankind has been evolving against flu exposure for a really long time now. I'd be more concerned with the variations of the hemorrhagic fevers. People with existing health conditions or compromised (or under developed) immune systems should be at the front of the line. Healthy people should not be getting flu shots until this high risk demographic is inoculated.

To parents out there, you can do more to safeguards the lives of your children by following this advice.

How to prevent pneumonia?

A very common method for transmitting a cold is by shaking hands. Everyone should always wash his or her hands before eating and after going outside. Ordinary soap is sufficient. Waterless hand cleaners that contain an alcohol-based gel are also effective for every day use and may even kill cold viruses. Daily diets should include foods such as fresh, dark-colored fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants and other important food chemicals that help boost the immune system.

Deep-breathing exercises and therapy to clear secretions help prevent pneumonia in people at high risk, such as those who have had chest or abdominal surgery and those who are debilitated. People with pneumonia also need to clear secretions and benefit from deep-breathing exercises and therapy as well. If people with pneumonia are short of breath or their blood is low in oxygen, supplemental oxygen is provided. Although rest is an important part of treatment, moving often and getting out of bed and into a chair are encouraged.

Several types of pneumonia can be prevented with the use of vaccines. Vaccines are available to protect against pneumococcal pneumonia, pneumonia caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, and pneumonia caused by the influenza virus, which also often leads to a secondary bacterial pneumonia. People over age 65 and those in high-risk groups are advised to receive the pneumonia vaccine. The vaccine is effective in approximately 80 percent of healthy young adults; however, it may be less effective in people in high risk groups. Healthy older adults usually need only one shot for lifetime protection. People with a chronic medical problem are encouraged to have the vaccine every 5 to 6 years. Some health professionals recommend that everyone over the age of 65 receive the vaccine every 5 years.

3 comments:

  1. Northern Ontario ToryNovember 3, 2009 at 2:02 PM

    I'm not an expert in any way, but I think that you are generally mistaken in the belief that experiencing past flus makes your system stronger to the new varieties. In some cases it may, but that's the problem with the flu ..... it tends to be different every year. If it were the same virus all the time, we would likely have been able to virtually eradicate it. To that end, your analogy of Patton's Shermans driving through Lorraine is a little ironic; while the Shermans can withstand a lot of small caliber stuff, it stood little chance against the dreaded 88! :-)

    BTW, I'm not knocking your decision to not get the shot. Just wanted to be clear on that.

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  2. I am not a viral pathologist. What I have observed is that as a child I used to get the flu frequently, and as an adult I never get it despite exposure to the bug. Regardless of the variation of pathogen I am exposed to, I fight it off before illness occurs.

    A fantastic book that everyone should read is "Why We Get Sick"

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  3. I agree with you Iceman. The demographic most at risk for H1 is under 25 while those least at risk are the baby boomers. The experts are saying that something similar to this bug went around in the 60's and 70's and the baby boomers are equipped with antibodies that fight the new variation bug off.

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