CDC reports H1N1 flu cases up in southeast: How’s your family?

(Editor’s Note: Happy New Year!! Sorry I haven’t been posting. We went to visit Michael in New York for Christmas. I will have more on the trip soon. I have lots of advice for families visiting New York City.)

The Centers for Disease Control and my Facebook feed are both reporting a rise in H1N1 flu cases in the southeast. Friends are reporting pediatrician offices flooded with cases and even asking families to wear masks to protect themselves from the virus if not already infected. Here’s more.

From 11 Alive.com (Jan. 1 story):

ATLANTA — Brace yourselves. The CDC is reporting positive flu tests in the Southeast are up nearly 23 percent this week and it’s hitting young adults hard.

“The predominant virus this year so far is H1N1,” said Epidemiologist Dr. Michael Jhung with the Centers for Disease Control Flu Division….

“It’s affecting a different age group this year. More young adults rather than elderly this year,” Dr. Jhung added.

“Georgia’s Department of Health reports 4 deaths so far from the flu, including a child who had underlying medical conditions.  The latest report from week 51 shows there were 53 hospitalizations.”

I’m surprised to see cases blow up this week when kids are out of school. You would think the virus would spread faster when they go back to school.

Has your family come down with H1N1? Are you seeing it at your pediatrician’s office? Have they asked you to wear a mask? (I would be totally into that. My friend who moved to Taiwan says you cannot take a sick child out without putting a mask on them. Love it!)

31 comments Add your comment

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Sk8ing Momma

January 2nd, 2014
7:23 am

Happy New Year!

Thankfully, we’re all healthy and have not had a cold or the flu this season.

SEE

January 2nd, 2014
9:48 am

My 21 month old son got the flu. He woke up one evening with a high fever. I took him to the doctor in the morning and test results confirmed the flu. We were asked if he had been given the flu shot. No, we hadn’t. I felt guilty for the rest of the day, thinking I had condemned my child to a week of misery. The next day he was better, no fever, no crankiness. No one else in the family has gotten it, either. My mother told me she didn’t get the flu shot this year, because in years past she’s always gotten the flu despite the shot. I really don’t understand why the medical community pushes the flu shot…has it really been proven to protect against the flu?

Misty

January 2nd, 2014
10:15 am

Happy New Year!!

No, I’ve not seen or heard anything regarding it. Nothing here except maybe a cold or two.

@SEE I *think* that they only protect against certain strains.

Mayhem

January 2nd, 2014
11:20 am

The one and only time I got a flu shot, I was sick as a dog with the flu two weeks later, and was down for over a week. I’ve never been so sick in my life. Since then, no flu shot, and no flu!

I don’t get the hype either…no one in my family gets the flu. No one gets the shot either…

Hidden Agenda

January 2nd, 2014
11:53 am

SEE – The answer to your question is Dollars – as always. And there have been studies and they clearly show that the flu vaccine is quite ineffective in preventing the flu but that doesn’t stop the profit industry from pushing it. The vaccine itself also contains a wide array of additives (including still Thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative)) that can directly harm the recipient and can cause long-term damage to the immune system.

And I would be highly skeptical of any death statistics associated with the Flu. They lump lots of things into that category including pneumonia and others. Additionally, though it doesn’t go well with the fear-mongering narrative, most if not all folks who die from the flu generally have other underlying conditions that have already compromised their immune systems.

Please get over the guilt. Giving your child a healthy nutrition, plenty of beneficial sunshine (for the immune-boosting vitamin D), and other immune boosting actions is the BEST thing you can do for them during flu season.

jarvis

January 2nd, 2014
12:20 pm

I’ve told this story on here several times this Fall.

Flip side of the coin, no one in my family had ever gotten the Flu. We get the shot every year. My son this year got the earliest case I’ve ever heard of. We went through a week of worry, he just wasn’t getting better and because of the time of year, his Ped never tested him for Flu. In August he was diagnosed at CHOA as “patient zero”.

He hadn’t received the shot/mist yet. I’ve seen what can happen when we’re not inoculated.

He still hasn’t completely gotten over it. His immune system has been shot all Fall. He’s picked up everything. And Hidden Agenda, he gets plenty of sunshine. Athletic kid that plays outside constantly.

motherjanegoose

January 2nd, 2014
12:48 pm

I do know people ( recently) who have been VERY sick and did not get the flu shot. It is certainly a choice you make for yourself.

My husband and I got the flu shot ( by our son) on 9/11/13. It did not hurt at all. My arm was achy the next day but that was it. Years ago, I was sick after I got the shot and did not get one for quite some time. Then, a friend got the flu and she was VERY sick. Since then, I have gotten my shot with no side effects.

Son mentioned, last week, that lots of folks are coming in very sick with a scrip for Tamaflu ( sp?) and he wants to remind them that a flu shot is typically less expensive than the scrip and that you could potentially avoid the pain and suffering. Of course, he cannot do this as they already feel horrible and he is a kind person at heart. I might want to mention it…haha!

Knock on wood but I have not even had a cold this fall and that is very unusual for me. I typically lose my voice as a result of a cold and sinus issues.

Even if the flu shot only gave you a 50 percent chance of not getting the flu…I would still get it.
If you had a 50 percent better chance of arriving safely to Hawaii on one airline over another, would the 50 per cent better airline sway your choice? After all, it is only 50 per cent!

@jarvis…hope your son feels better soon. My son recommended we get our shot early and thus we got it in September. Guess that did not help your son out.

Anyone read about this…scary:

http://www.npr.org/2013/09/01/217746942/texas-megachurch-at-center-of-measles-outbreak

Native Atlantan

January 2nd, 2014
1:07 pm

I get a flu shot every year. In fact, my PCP is pretty insistent that I receive one early in the season. Have not had the true “flu” as long as I can remember and I spend 90% of my year traveling (air and hotels). Colds and sinus issues, yes….but not the flu. As MJG stated, my arm and shoulder were sore for a day afterwards but I’ll take that any day over the flue.

Anton Chigurh

January 2nd, 2014
1:26 pm

Just fine, thanks.

Kat

January 2nd, 2014
2:25 pm

People are usually on one side or the other regarding the flu shot. They brag, “I never get the shot, never get the flu and neither does anyone I’ve ever met in my life.” Or, they brag, “I always get the shot, and anyone I’ve ever known who doesn’t gets sick and dies in a crumpled heap.”

I get the shot every year, except one. I got the flu. Life sucked for two weeks – one with illness and one with trying to catch up on everything. My immediate family is fine with shots and health. The extended family? No idea. I recommend the shot, but you never know which strains are coming until it’s too late.

motherjanegoose

January 2nd, 2014
3:03 pm

@ Kat…I went for several years not getting the shot. Due to the fact that after I did get it I was kind of puny and it lasted for several days. During this time, of no shots, a dear friend got so ill and thus I resolved to get the shot each year. Son says that you should not get sick ( from the current vaccine) and I do not. He also says that if your arm hurts, the shot was administered correctly. I have no idea but I am not taking any chances.

My stepmom refused to get the shingles shot. Sadly, she got shingles and was VERY ill. She has health issues now that are related to her having shingles. I will get that shot as soon as I am eligible, Insurance covers it at a certain age and I should be up for it soon. You cannot make someone get the shot, that is for sure!

Denise

January 2nd, 2014
3:11 pm

People the flu shot does not cause the flu. If you got sick after getting the shot is is because you were exposed to the flu before getting the shot. It is NOT a live virus. There is no way to get the flu from it–its impossible

FCM

January 2nd, 2014
3:11 pm

My 2 got the flu shot earlier in December. I know we are not out of the woods but I am hoping it will pass us by.

FCM

January 2nd, 2014
3:15 pm

I have mentioned this before: Last year a boy (athletic and very healthy) at my younger child’s school got the flu…and he died. My child usually pitches a fit over shots, I just reminded her of Nikolas and she had no issue getting the shot. She walks by the memorial for him that she helped build most everyday at school.

motherjanegoose

January 2nd, 2014
3:17 pm

@ Denise…was it ever a live virus? I did feel bad YEARS AGO but not now. My son tells me that no one should feel bad with today’s immunization. I know I do not.

Raw Onion

January 2nd, 2014
3:19 pm

All four family members got the flu the week before Xmas. All of us got the flu shot/or flu mist in October and still got the flu. The Ped said they have seen more cases this year where the vaccine failed.

catlady

January 2nd, 2014
4:34 pm

I had the “beg for death” flu in early 1988. Called my kids in one at a time and said goodbye to them. Everything hurt. The weight of the air pressure was bruising me, and it was agony if someone whipped up a wind by walking by. My hair folicles hurt; the roots of my teeth hurt. (Strangely, I never went to the doctor.) I was sick for about 6 weeks, including the coughing.

My dear, elderly neighbor sent up a jar of end-of-the-garden soup she had made back in the fall. I credit THAT with saving my life. I ate and and started to get better! (I later begged to buy some jars of it from her. I have since started making it each year, dividing it among my children to keep in the cabinet as medicine.)

Since then, I get a flu shot. I have a number of health issues that are serious and don’t need to put my body through it again if I can help it.

For a funny take on the flu try to see a copy of Dave Barry’s piece on the flu from the late 80s. I think it was in Reader’s Digest.

MamaS

January 2nd, 2014
4:52 pm

We always get the flu shot but this year I was having radiation therapy so only my son got his shot.
Over Christmas we both caught the flu (from my visiting, unvaccinated granddaughter). He recovered
in three days. I am going in to my third week of misery, coughing, aching, exhaustion. Next year we will
both get the shot in October!

SEE

January 2nd, 2014
5:24 pm

My 18 month old was confirmed with the flu, but was only sick for 1 and 1/2 days…not even a full two days! This is not the first time one of my children have had the flu, but none of them has ever been sick over three days (and we’ve never gotten the flu shot). I’m guessing some people just have better immune systems than others…that’s all I can figure.

jan

January 2nd, 2014
5:28 pm

The types of flu circulating is researched every year. The types covered by the flu shot targets depends on what the research predicts will be the 3-4 most common types for the next flu season. Is it 100% coverage against all types of flu? Will it guarantee that you will not get the flu? NO! It provides protection only against the types of flu it targets. Do they ever get the types predicted to be next season’s types wrong? Yes, sometimes. But they usually get it right.

Do I get the flu shot? After having the flu in the 1990s and being so sick that I was afraid that I might actually die from it, I will continue to get it every year.

Have I ever gotten the flu after getting the flu shot? Yes, I have, but it was not caused by the shot. It was caused by a type NOT COVERED by the shot. I picked up H1N1 in the pediatrician’s office in 2008… H1N1 wasn’t predicted to be a common type that year and wasn’t covered by the shot.

Janice

January 2nd, 2014
5:38 pm

i have asthma and breathing issues. i believe that my doctor would make a house call to make sure i get a flu shot. i get them and then wash hands all the time and for about the next month will wear latex gloves when in stores. i stopped at store on way home from work on monday and i have never seen so many miserable looking people. glassey eyed, pale and basically walking zombies. i

Mayhem

January 2nd, 2014
5:49 pm

Um the flu shot does contain the flu virus. A very low dose. It is injected into you so you will build a resistance to it when the flu bug comes to visit. Thats why I got so sick. I’ve never had the flu in my life, get the shot, and viola, flu. No sht since, and no flu either thank you!

Educate yourself people. Don’t drink the flu kool aid.

Kat

January 2nd, 2014
6:25 pm

Not sure that it has as much to do with your immune system as to how much you come in contact with others. If a child is in pre-school, they can build immunity but they can also be affected by other children quite easily. I think it has to do with how close of contact you (or your family) comes into with others. Hence the case of being patient zero!

I am afraid of shingles because I’m not certain if I had chicken pox when I was little. My brothers had it, and I never showed signs of having it, except for one mark on one ear. I remember David Letterman having it, and it sounds horrible!

The flu virus is in the shot, but it is inactivated. Instead of arguing back and forth, here’s what I learned.

From the CDC’s website:
How do flu vaccines work?
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called trivalent vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. In addition, this season, there are flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine as well as an additional B virus.

Can the flu vaccine give me the flu?
No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines that are administered with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and are therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all (which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine). The nasal spray flu vaccine does contain live viruses. However, the viruses are attenuated (weakened), and therefore cannot cause flu illness. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they are designed to only cause infection at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The viruses cannot infect the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist.
Different side effects can be associated with the flu shot and nasal spray flu vaccines. These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially when compared to symptoms of influenza infection.
The flu shot: The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that could occur are:
Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
Fever (low grade)
Aches
The nasal spray: The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often associated with influenza illness. In children, side effects from the nasal spray can include:
Runny nose
Wheezing
Headache
Vomiting
Muscle aches
Fever
In adults, side effects from the nasal spray vaccine can include
Runny nose
Headache
Sore throat
Cough
If these problems occur, they begin soon after vaccination and are mild and short-lived. Almost all people who receive influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it. However, on rare occasions, flu vaccination can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions.

motherjanegoose

January 2nd, 2014
6:56 pm

@ Mayhem…I am not an expert but here is what I found:

Flu Myth #3: The flu vaccine can give you the flu.

This is the flu myth most likely to drive experts bonkers. “There is simply no way that the flu vaccine can give you the flu,” says Hay. “It’s impossible.”

Why? For one, injected flu vaccines only contain dead virus, and a dead virus is, well, dead: it can’t infect you. There is one type of live virus flu vaccine, the nasal vaccine, FluMist. But in this case, the virus is specially engineered to remove the parts of the virus that make people sick.

Despite the scientific impossibility of getting the flu from the flu vaccines, this widespread flu myth won’t die. Experts suspect two reasons for its persistence. One, people mistake the side effects of the vaccine for flu. While side effects to the vaccine these days tend to be a sore arm, in the past, side effects often felt like mild symptoms of the flu. Two, flu season coincides with a time of year when bugs causing colds and other respiratory illnesses are in the air. Many people get the vaccine and then, within a few days, get sick with an unrelated cold virus. However, they blame the innocent flu vaccine, rather than their co-worker with a runny nose and cough.

BabaBinx

January 2nd, 2014
7:13 pm

As a few other posters have mentioned – If you ever truly get the flu, you will damn sure get the shot in the future. I think I have truly only had it once in high school. Sick in bed for a solid week and felt like a truck had ran over me. As someone said above, even your hair follicles hurt. I personally don’t want to ever experience that again. And I can completely understand how it could kill a weaker person.

A few posters have mentioned their toddlers only having it for a “day or so.” Don’t let that fool you. When my 6 year old was younger, there were many things that went through our house that he recovered from much quicker than my husband and I (including a case of the norovirus that had me weeping on the bathroom floor).

Don’t brag about your immune systems. The real flu will put you down for the count. I truly think a lot of people claim “flu,” but have never truly had it.

[...] this year so far is H1N1,” stated Epidemiologist Dr. Michael Jhung with … Study far more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

em112000

January 3rd, 2014
11:54 am

My mom (who doesn’t live with us) got the flu this year. She was vaccinated. My son, 5, was diagnosed yesterday. He was also vaccinated. So far this year, I’ve known more people who were vaccinated and gotten it anyway. Different from years past. My son’s pediatrician seems to think being vaccinated is helping people recover from it more quickly. My husband got the shot and I got the mist. So far neither one of us has gotten it – nor has my father who has been exposed to it probably more than myself or my husband.

Ann

January 3rd, 2014
6:01 pm

Regarding Vitamin D, sunscreen blocks your body’s ability to convert Vitamin D into what you need. So, just because your kid is outdoors or plays sports does not necessarily mean they are getting the Vitamin D needed. It depends on whether they are outside enough time in the sun without sunscreen.

Regarding the flu shot’s effectiveness, it is not simply a matter of predicting this year’s strains. As the CDC states, the strains are changing “year to year” and “within the flu season”. They state: “It’s not possible to predict with certainty which flu viruses will predominate during a given season. Flu viruses are constantly changing (called drift) – they can change from one season to the next or they can even change within the course of one flu season. Experts must pick which viruses to include in the vaccine many months in advance in order for vaccine to be produced and delivered on time.”

Aletha Malagarie

January 6th, 2014
12:41 am

Lucy Murphy

January 7th, 2014
5:52 pm

My whole family was exposed to the flu Christmas Eve and Day and my daughter and I both had flu shots and both got the flu—so apparently at least some flu shots did not contain the right strain to build immunity to the current strain. Meanwhile, my husband did have the shot, my mother and my other daughter DID NOT get the shot–and only my mother got the flu. No patterns here!