Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.
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A few details about the H1N1 vaccine — though, sad to say, no new information about when or where you can get it:
FOR THE ALLERGIC:
People with egg allergies should know that it may be possible for them to get the shot — despite the fact that the vaccine is made with eggs. New guidelines from the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology advise people with a history of egg allergy, or a history of bad reactions to vaccines, to get checked out by an allergist. An allergy specialist can evaluate a person’s allergy, consult about whether the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh the risks of a reaction, and be on hand during a vaccination to respond with emergency care if needed.
“The vast majority of patients with egg allergy and/or suspected sensitivity to other components of the vaccine can be vaccinated following an evaluation by an allergist," Dr. Peter Smith, a Fredericksburg allergy and asthma specialist, said in a press release. "Even patients who have experienced adverse reactions to vaccines in the past can often be inoculated safely using allergy guidelines.”
Dr. James T. Li, chair of the allergy and immunology division at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, expressed a similar view in a story posted on medicalnewstoday.com.
"Persons with a history of allergy to egg or a past reaction to an influenza vaccine may still be able to receive the H1N1 vaccine or the seasonal flu vaccine safely," Li said. "I believe that anyone with this concern should check with their doctor and consult with an allergist."
Smith, in the press release, urged those with asthma to get vaccinated against both the seasonal and H1N1 flu, as the flu and asthma can be a really hazardous mix. But he cautioned that those with asthma should not get the flu mist, but rather, the old-fashioned shot. That’s because the mist is made with weakened, live virus and can trigger a bad response in people with asthma or who are immunosuppressed. The injectable version is safer for people with these complicating illnesses because it’s made with dead virus.
FOR VACCINE SKEPTICS:
For those concerned about the safety of the h1n1 vaccine, check out Dr. Christopher Lillis’ column, coming up this Sunday, Nov. 1, in Healthy Living.
If you have any inside information about when and where the H1N1 vaccine will be available, do share!