Flu Swine Risk

Swine flu can affect anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, rich or poor, American or Asian, and so on. However, people react differently to the swine flu and its various treatments. Some people are less likely to experience severe symptoms than others.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends certain groups of people to get flu vaccinations as early as possible. This is because people in these so-called “high risk” groups are either more likely to experience severe symptoms of the swine flu, or they are often in contact with those that may be infected.

These high swine flu risk groups include:

  • Children aged 6 months to 5 years old
  • Health care workers
  • Household contacts of person at high risk for complications from influenza
  • Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 6 months of age
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease)
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Pregnant women.

The list above includes groups that may come into contact with the influenza virus often, such as from working at a hospital, and groups that have weaker immune systems, such as those with HIV.

H1N1 Risk Groups - Swine Flu Risk

Not all people are suited for the swine flu or seasonal flu vaccine. The CDC warns against giving the vaccine to the those who:

  • Are younger than 6 months of age
  • Have a severe allergy to chicken eggs
  • Have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination
  • Have developed Guillian-Barré syndrome within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine
  • Have a moderate to severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated).

Health Complications of the Swine Flu

A swine flu influenza infection can be debilitating, and swine flu symptoms can be severe. In most healthy people with no underlying chronic conditions, swine flu symptoms have been reported to be from mild to moderate, with full recovery in about a week. However, in some rare cases, catching the swine flu can have fatal implications.

In particular, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions may suffer from further complications of the flu.

One such complication is bacterial pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs that may lead to respiratory failure and death. Thus, it is very important for the elderly to be up-to-date with the pneumococcal vaccine. The CDC currently recommends adults in the high-risk groups (as described above) to get vaccinations for the seasonal flu, H1N1 flu, and pneumococcus.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff. (2009). Influenza vaccinations: A summary for clinicians. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from the Centers for Disease Control Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/Flu/professionals/vaccination/vax-summary.htm.

Doherty, P. and Turner, S. (2009). What do we know about influenza and what can we do about it? Retrieved December 5, 2009, from the Journal of Biology Web site: http://jbiol.com/content/8/5/46.

Falco, M. (2009). H1N1 linked to rise in bacterial pneumonia cases. Retrieved November 29, 2009, from the CNN Web site: http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/11/26/h1n1.bacterial.pnuemonia/index.html.

Goldstein, J. (2009). Swine flu update: Resistance, mutations, declines, and China. Retrieved December 5, 2009, from the Wall Street Journal Web site: http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/11/20/swine-flu-update-resistance-mutations-declines-and-china/.