Swine flu is a respiratory disease that is caused by a new strain of influenza virus. As seasonal flu vaccines don’t protect against this disease, new flu vaccines have been developed.
Usually, swine flu is mild, but there are cases when some people are very ill with swine flu. Generally, swine flu symptoms include:
- sore throat
- aching muscles
- loss of appetite
- runny nose
Pregnant women and people with a weak immune system are at higher risk and they may need to go to the hospital, but some even die. This is the main reason why it’s very important to have a vaccine that prevents people from catching swine flu.
People also have to know that swine flu vaccines are different from seasonal flu vaccines because the seasonal flu vaccine doesn’t protect against swine flu.
Swine flu vaccine should be offered first to those who are at higher risk of developing severe symptoms:
1. Adults and children over six months of age who have long-term diseases such as:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Chronic lung disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Chronic heart disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic neurological diseases
- Immunosupression caused by treatment or by a disease.
2. Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy as they are at risk of being seriously ill if they will catch this type of flu. Studies show that pregnant women are four times more likely to develop severe complications and the risks are highest at the later stages of pregnancy.
3. People who live together in the same house and someone has a compromised immune system. In this case, the person who has a weak immune system should ask the others to vaccinate to protect her against catching swine flu, as well. Nonetheless, someone with a compromised immune system should discuss with his practice nurse or doctor if he isn’t sure if he should be vaccinated.
Even though this vaccine is very useful, some people cannot have it: those who have had severe allergic reactions to a previous dose of the vaccine or any element of it and those who have anaphylactic reaction to eggs.
All types of vaccines, as well as swine flu vaccine cause several mild side-effects such as redness, soreness, fever, headache, muscle aches, as well as swelling at the site of the injection. You also have to know that, fortunately, these symptoms are much milder than swine flu itself and they last a day or so, so you will be safe.