H1N1 is here, but don't forget about the seasonal flu

By: Amber Miller Email
By: Amber Miller Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- With H1N1 in the forefront of health news, doctors worry you may miss out on protecting yourself from the seasonal flu.

Seasonal flu vaccinations are already available, while H1N1shots still won't be here for a few more weeks.

Doctors say the swine flu-- so far-- has been mild, but highly contagious.

So get that vaccination when it's available, but in the meantime, don't forget about the seasonal flu because it's not here yet and we don't know how severe those symptoms will be.

"Thirty-six thousand people a year die in the United States from complications from regular seasonal influenza, so it's important to pay close attention to both situations this year," Dr. Randall Curnow, Chief Medical Officer of Summit Medical Group said.

The flu vaccination comes in two forms: the inactive virus which is the shot, and the live virus which is the spray. The spray is recommended for children.

For five years, Knox County schools have provided FluMist at school for free. But students have to have a consent form.

The goal is to vaccinate 70% of Knox County students.

Every year, the turnout is just over half.

This year especially, the health department is hoping to hit their goal.

"Children and adults, every year, who are perfectly healthy fall to influenza," Dr. Curnow said.

Dr. Curnow says if you don't get the vaccination, you are taking an unnecessary risk.

"They do make a difference. They do make a definite difference," Curnow added.

There are two big myths when it comes to flu vaccinations: one, that it will give you the flu. Doctors say it is impossible for the vaccine to give you influenza.

And two, if you get the vaccine now, it won't last all season.
Doctors say, don't worry because it will.

"I have five recommendations," Curnow told Volunteer TV. "Get a vaccination, get a vaccination, get a vaccination and wash your hands, wash your hands."

The regular flu season is expected to peak in January/February.

Doctors say the H1N1 flu season is peaking now.

So-- if you've already gotten sick this year, do you get a vaccination?

Unless you have had a lab-confirmed case of swine flu, then yes, absolutely get the shot.

There is some new information out that the H-1-N-1 vaccination may only be one shot, instead of two as first thought.

The data is still being analyzed to see if that is true for children, or if they will need two shots to prime the body for this new strain.

To find out when FluMist patrol is coming to your child's school, follow the link here.

To find a parent consent form, click here.

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