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H1N1/Swine Flu: It's HERE

Flipping through Facebook updates, I noticed that a mama mentioned that her son was down with the flu.  A few comments later, she also mentioned that H1N1 has been confirmed in students at her son's school as well as at her daughter's daycare.  Later on this evening, my husband said drearily, "It's confirmed."  His colleague's husband and their school-aged son were also afflicted with H1N1.

It looks like H1N1 has made is appearance here in Portland - in schools and in workplaces.  Has H1N1 been confirmed at your school, daycare, workplace, or commuity at large?  For those who have decided to vaccinate for H1N1, have you done so yet?

Be sure to check out DHS' website on H1N1 in Oregon for more resources and information.


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I heard they're not testing for it and that it's a presumptive diagnosis. But yes, I've heard it's around.

I'm pretty sure I had/have it. I was in bed all day Friday and Saturday. It hurt to get out of bed. It hurt to think about eating. I felt like I had glass in my throat. By Saturday night, though, I was able to eat dinner.

I didn't have a fever, which the CDC says is necessary to diagnose H1N1, but other sites say that about 30% of all cases don't include a fever. Anyway, here's what helped: nighttime decongestant, humidifier, Neti Pot used frequently, Oregano Oil (for anti-viral), B-Complex, C, and loads of sleep. My cough is still bothersome, but the aches are on their way out.

Now I'm concerned about my two year old. He's coming down with something, though we're not sure what. He is/was supposed to get his flu and H1N1 vax this Friday, but that might have to wait. We'll see.

My niece attended my daughters third birthday party on Wednesday evening. And on Thursday evening was taken to the emergency room with the swine flu. She held my five week old baby!
I called the nurse hotline when I found out. They told me it had a 1 to 7 day incubation. That if she had just washed her hands, and didn't cough on the baby, that we were safe. The flu travels on our spit, basically. And wearing a mask should only be considered if YOU have the flu.

So everybody wash your hands and carry sanitizer or wipes with you!

I scared my daughter into washing her hands by showing her a picture of a germ! I think she has washed her hands 20 times today!

I did not vaccinate, and I have sent up a prayer and my fingers are crossed.

The influenza in circulation right now (at least 99% of the positive typed results at the CDC) is 2009 Influenza A (H1N1). If someone currently has influenza it's basically a forgone conclusion that it is H1N1. It is widespread in Oregon, as well as almost every other state in the US. I think it'll be another couple months before the typical seasonal flu kicks in.

As far as the question about getting the H1N1 vaccine, as the state only has small amounts so far and the virus is already around, I wonder if lots of our kids will get the flu before the vaccine is even available (plus I think it takes 10 days to actually create the immunities).

Our whole family was down with it for two weeks. It was three weeks before we were all 100%. The kids, thank God, got off easy. DH got off mediumly, but this mama was hit hard. 43 hours and I didn't even open my eyeballs. Couldn't even read a book the first three days. 104 degree fever. Very wheezy, but not dangerously so. Best thing is to make sure not to push yourself. Take it VERY easy. Not something to mess with. Glad we're past that one!

I'm pretty sure our household had it this past week. It definitely was a flu of some sort, and they are basically the same.
We had gone into the doctor for an unrelated visit for my six year old last Monday, and on Wednesday I kept him home from school because he said he just felt achy. By Wednesday night he had a fever and sore throat too. And a dry cough. Then, like dominoes, I got the same thing Thursday and my older son had the same symptoms on Friday. I'd say we're all almost completely over it. No fevers since Saturday night anyway. They'll be back in school tomorrow, and hopefully they won't be able to get that same flu again.
I think that was our first flu, actually. I have to say it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We were all able to eat and nobody threw up! There was a little diarrhea, but nothing unmanageable.
I wasn't planning on getting the vaccine, and now I don't feel like I have to. I guess there'll be more for all of you that haven't gotten it yet!
Wash hands!

My 3-year-old and I had it (presumptive diagnosis, no blood tests) in late August/early September. She had a fever of 105 at one point, but the flu symptoms weren't the kicker -- the secondary pneumonia we both got was. I spent two weeks in bed with codeine and an inhaler, and our doctor debated hospitalizing my daughter, who was struggling for breath even while resting. Scary, scary stuff. I'm normally of a natural health bent (and not usually fan of flu shots), but man, have I been grateful for antibiotics and allopathic medicine this last six weeks.

We were on the fence about the vaccine for a while and finally landed on having the kids get a thimerosal-free version through our pediatrician.

This will be the first time we have vaccinated for any flu. As much as I hate to admit it, our choice to take this precaution is convenience. We have had a "get the flu while traveling" curse for the past couple of years and we aren't up to continuing that trend when we are traveling in November/December.

That said, there really isn't that much vaccine available right now. So the kids aren't vaccinated yet and won't be until Friday.

Both my 19 month old and myself were vaccinated in the last week... still working on the husband. I work visiting pregnant ladies and their babies and couldn't justify risking getting them sick. My kiddo just started daycare therefore I figure that he is also exposed to everything. There is more vaccine arriving to Oregon every week and the CDC says that they are making enough for everyone who is interested, it is just a slow process at times.

Us, too. I am on my 3rd week of being sick, and my 3 y.o. is on his 2nd week of missing school. In my 6 y.o.'s class, over half of the kids were out for a week. My 3 y.o.'s school was hit hard too, but I don't know specifics b/c we haven't been there.

I have no idea what I would have done if I had a outside-the-home job, I'm not even well enough to go back to my once-a-week volunteer gig.

So far we are lucky that none of us has developed secondary infections. I am watching my kids closely.

What I'm bummed about is that we're too sick to get our seasonal flu shot and now Kaiser says they're out of them. I'm scared we'll recover from H1N1 just in time to get the seasonal flu. Can you tell I'm feeling pessimistic right now?

My middle school-age daughter was just diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. This year she had her first seasonal flu vax, and will get the H1N1 vax as soon as it's available (our ped. has the FluMist, but it's not indicated for people with asthma--we're waiting on the injectable).

A full 1/3 of her 7th grade core class was out yesterday. I spoke with another mom from school this morning; she had to pick up her daugther right after lunch yesterday--3 other sick kids were waiting for pick-ups and 7 had already been signed out sick.

We've got a neighbor who had it (presumptive diagnosis, but she was down for 9 days). The mom and kid who drive my daughter to school in the mornings are down right now with it, as is one kid from our afternoon carpool (presumptive dx). Another family of three we know had confirmed cases of H1N1.

I am feeling nervous about H1N1--not only do I not want us to be sick because being sick is rotten, but the prospect of missing a week (or two, it sounds like) of work or school scares me, too. Right now I'm hoarding my sick and vacation days like crazy, just in case. But even with the days off available to me, it's not going to go over well if I have to miss work for an extended period of time.

AnEmily, the CDC is recommending the vax even if you think you've had H1N1. FWIW, about this at the CDC website, under the heading "Prior Illness".


Thanks Sheryl! The doctor I spoke to (my normal doctor was off) was so casual and even shrugged his shoulders when I asked him if he thought we should get the vaccine. He told me that if we didn't get the vaccine then that would make it easier for the higher risk folks to do so. It didn't sound so urgent. But now, after reading the experiences of families that were much more sick than we were, I'll probably call our regular doctor to ask what she thinks.

BHW- There are more shipments of seasonal flu vaccine expected, with plenty of time to get the shots before that flu season hits in January.

From what I've heard, depending on which form of the vaccine you get (nasal spray vs injectible) you might want to wait some period between getting the H1N1 and the seasonal vax. Makes a lot more sense to get the H1N1 first and then get the seasonal later.

To the question "For those who have decided to vaccinate for H1N1, have you done so yet?" my only response is "I would, but..."

The information on both the Clackamas and Multnomah County websites implies that I should get the vaccine through my daycare or through my health care provider. But the vaccine will not be made available through my daycare. And my health care provider doesn't have a supply yet. At the same time, the Multnomah Cty website lists places where the county is making it available this week to people who "...do not have a regular health care provider and cannot afford to pay for a vaccine", see: http://www.co.multnomah.or.us/health/swineflu/vaccine.shtml

Hmmm.. Well, I can afford the vaccine. And, I am well insured but my provider (Kaiser) isn't providing it to members (yet) because they haven't gotten a supply to do so from the state/county. And, the state/county are the ones getting the vaccine shipments for our community and dispersing it around (but seemingly keeping most of the early shipments for their own clinics?) So if I follow the instructions on the county website, my son, who has been in urgent care a dozen times for pulmonary issues and takes inhaled steroids daily to control his asthma is asked "to wait" because his parents can afford the vaccine and we have a regular health care provider.


I have never harbored anti-immigrant feelings (I lived abroad for years, including as both a child and adult in S. America). And, I still don't harbor anti-immigrant feelings. That said, the state/county is handling this poorly. They should disperse the vaccine to various outlets in a manner where my son at least has an EQUAL chance of vaccination as other populations in this community -- equal to immigrants, equal to the uninsured, etc., instead of providing it to clinics that explictly state their intention to serve only specific populations. If this were set-up in the opposite direction whereby poor, minority, and immigrant populations were asked "to wait" for vaccines while at the same time, down the street the predominantly well-resourced Anglo citizens' clinics were getting the shots early, the civil rights activists would be all over it.

Having said all of this, today I am telling myself to have patientce, which is what the state/county (and Kaiser) is asking for. And, I am hoping that as the days tick by my son doesn't catch H1N1 (for those who wonder why I am so worried about this -- Have you had multiple incidents where your child could literally not breathe due to viral infections? It indeed causes a person to worry). Perhaps I'll just go line up with my son at the Immigrant & Refugee center this week and defy the instructions on the Multnomah Cty website.....

Local hospitals ICU's are full or near full with patients with secondary infections due to h1n1, primarily pneumonia.

It is bad out there. Most of those people will be ok but being hospitalized is a big deal. You aren't reading about them in the paper because they aren't dying, but its the kind of situation we never see around here especially at this time of year.

Does anyone know if PPS (or any other metro-area district) is planning on doing H1N1 vaccination clinics? I don't see any information at the PPS website.

BTW, I've heard from several PPS parents that they've received or picked up flyers at school that recommend keeping your child out until they have been fever-free (w/o tylenol or motrin) for 24 hours...AND that a fever is considered 99.0 or over.

ps - all of our children got the h1n1 flumist last week through our ped.

I am very, very eagerly waiting for our clinic to get a supply...we're getting the seasonal shot tonight, but am most looking forward to getting the H1N1 out of the way. Like, now. Or yesterday. I tend to get everything, and my kids are around so many other people (school/soccer/afterschool clubs/playdates) I can't imagine that they won't be exposed to it sooner or later....

I am getting pretty nervous and, yes, we intend to vaccinate with h1n1. I also called our pediatrician and they don't have a supply until November. And, we were told to keep our previously scheduled appointment for November 30th and we will be vaccinated at that time.

We have a 4wk old in the home, along with a 9yo and a ~6yo. We are otherwise healthy and are not regular recipients of the regular flu vaccine, but I think that having the newborn in the home is making us want to vaccinate as soon as possible.

I also looked up the clinics in Multnomah County but realized that I am not eligible to go there because we have insurance. There don't seem to be any other places - private pediatrician offices or pharmacies - that have the H1N1 vaccine available so I'm not so sure what we'll do.

It’s tough battling H1N1 when young children are constantly putting their hands, toys, and everything else into their mouths. Little hands can pick up virus germs and transmit them to the eyes, nose and mouth, leading to infection. A simple solution of inexpensive laundry bleach in water (1/4 cup in a gallon of water) applied to rinsed toys and other communal objects, followed by a clear water rinse, goes a long way toward destroying H1N1 on hard surfaces. And bleach breaks down primarily into salty water as it works, so you don’t have to worry about any harmful environmental effects.

Trying to be patient-
I, for one, hope you'll give one of the community vaccination sites a try since it sounds like your child is at high risk for complications and you don't have any other viable options. Are they giving the shot or the mist at those sites, I wonder? It sounds like the Flumist would be contraindicated for the pulmonary issues, right?

I have also read that to be fully vaccinated, you need TWO cycles of vaccine -- a few weeks apart. Anyone know anything about this?

Wow. I am NOT planning on getting the vaccine for my family. We are firm believers in Vitamin D. I have my family on a fairly high dose right now, as well as other immune boosting supplements. We are trying to eat really well, get lots of exercise OUTSIDE and of course we are washing our hands lots! We have been to OMSI, children's museum, zoo, library group, etc. at least 2 times a week for the past month and not one of us has gotten sick. Just putting that out there.

It is at our daycare, just 2 cases so far. kids under the age of 9 that get the flumist need to get two installments (so I've read, don't know about the others because my son is in that batch) My son had the first installment of the H1N1 mist vaccine 2 weeks ago. He had a seasonal flu shot appt. but they were out of the seasonal and asked if we wanted to keep the appt. and get this one instead - as things have unfolded the last two weeks, I'm really relieved at our dumb luck.

Amy, I needed to know the answer to your question, so I looked it up. The National Institutes of Health announced the results of a study in late September that says that children over ten just need one H1N1 shot, but that younger kids need two shots, 21 days apart.

The NIH study apparently shows that about 76 percent of kids 10-17 have gotten "robust" protection from just one shot (although the other quarter have some immunity, its not as strong, they say).

But only a third of the 3-9 year olds had as good of an immune response from a single shot, so they needed a booster later. Apparently this is similar to the way the regular flu vaccine works. It's because their young immune system is just less experienced.

The study didn't include the FluMist nasal version of the vaccine, but the doctors said they expected the immune response to work the same way (booster necessary for younger kids).

I certainly agree that the distribution seems skewed: I'm pregnant, have asthma, have had students in my class with confirmed cases, am traveling across country next week, and my oldest daughter has the flu (presumptive H1N1). YET...my OB's office hasn't received any vaccines, let alone thimerosol-free; we have insurance, so I can't access the free clinics; and I can't take FluMist because of the live virus.

So, for now, my best defense is a good offense: plenty of rest, megadoses of vit. D and C, and good hygiene. My OB also gave me a prescription for Tamiflu as to be taken prophylactically.

I'm hoping my other kids can make it through to their flu shot appt. in two weeks. Both my husband and I were hoping to save some time off/vacation time for when the baby's born in January...sigh.

At this point since the vaccine is not widely available and we have lots of confirmed cases now in our school, we're stressing that parents keep their kids home and really let them recuperate. Even if they don't have symptoms that would typically mean they're contagious, we're hearing some recommendations to wait 4-7 days after being clear of symptoms before returning to school or work. Sounds like a major concern is the possibility of secondary infections that might develop before your immune system is back up and ready.

My 2 1/2 yr old got flu-mist yesterday and the pediatrician said he didn't really need the booster because it was a minimal increase in protection (like the difference between 90% and 92%) although I haven't researched it myself.

We opted for flu-mist even though it is a live virus because the other choice had mercury. I'm curious what kind of reactions people who have gotten the flu mist have had? What can we expect in the next few days?

trying to be patient:
maybe the idea of making sure patients who do not have insurance get the vaccine first is that if they do end up sick they will be the ones who can not go to the doctor b/c they do not have said insurance. imagine if you were to get sick and didn't have the great coverage you have? i presume these people may make up more of that 1% of the population that is dying from secondary causes, but who knows. i'm crossing my fingers, as i'm one of those people who does not have insurance. and, i'm not an immigrant, have a college degree and i work full-time. please don't stereotype the people who receive benefits/assistance.

Liz-Kaiser is OUT of seasonal flu vax, not getting more. They post they will reimburse you for the vax at an outside clinic.


Maybe the poster you were responding to isn't stereotyping what ethnic groups are poor and without insurance, but merely going off information on Mult. County Health Department's website: The first place they are offering free vaccines is at the Immigration and Refugee Community Association. The second? The Consulate of Mexico. (Actually that one has been postponed.) Other sites include the Asian Health and Service Center, and Catholic Charities' El Programa Hispano.

This is really sad. Why are children (and adults) who don't have health insurance (but presumably are otherwise healthy) a higher priority for receiving the vaccine than, say, children at serious risk for complications, such as those with asthma or with Cystic Fibrosis?

I believe the community vaccination sites are for people in the priority groups, anyone can go. I took my 3 year old last week and he got the flumist, No one asked if we were insured or if we could pay, the only questions that were asked were to insure he was in the priority group.

His ped's office didn't have it yet so we went.

The vaccines are free for everyone, but your doc office can charge an administration fee.

My understanding is that high priority people can go anywhere to get vacc'd. The H1N1 has been particularly deadly in communities of color in the US, true facts. Which is why the sites include them like Emmanuel Baptist Church. Given our country's history with communities of color and sketchy vaccines (Tuskegee experiment anyone), I can see why folks would NOT want to get the vaccine. You don't have to be an immigrant to get services at the agencies listed.

I choose to believe that posts that have been made that seem xenophobic are just regular folks who've been whipped into a frenzy by the hysterical reporting on H1N1. And the folks who use any excuse to drum up anti-immigrant hysteria.

It is not unusual for Kaiser to not have the flu vaccines until later in the season or to run out any year. Yay Kaiser!


Thanks for putting that nicely when I couldn't think of a way it could be done.

For those of you wondering why these vaccines are going to community sites that target the uninsured and underprivileged as well as minority groups and immigrants, the people who can't afford treatment are those most at risk from any virus or disease, hands down. In addition to having an increased likelihood for malnutrition, higher stress levels and other untreated illnesses, they are also the people who are most likely to avoid seeking treatment until it's too late, whether because they can't afford the treatment or because they fear or mistrust those giving it. What's sad is that I expect in a couple of months, when the hospitals are treating the uninsured, the complaining will then be "why does the taxpayer have to foot the bill?". Plus, erinj is right. I went to the County Health Department website page last night and those free community vaccine clinics are open to ANYONE who is in a high risk category, which includes both youth from six months to 24 years old, anyone working with or living with an infant under six months old, anyone who is pregnant, and anyone who has a preexisting condition which makes them more susceptible to complications, like asthma. Did anyone even bother to read the information before they picked up their pitch forks and started complaining about how it isn't fair that those poor immigrants get vaccinated before our precious privileged babies?

I think you are being a bit harsh toward the original poster. Her child does seem to have significant health issues and that, more than the hype, seems to be causing her concerns. If you do not live with a child with these health issues, I imagine it is much easier to surf calmly through the sites.

The tone of some of these posts is unnecessary and provides no greater clarity on the issue. The information is helpful, however, and I am sure the person with the high risk child is grateful for the knowledge.

Um... I did read the Multnomah County website (http://www.co.multnomah.or.us/health/swineflu/vaccine.shtml) and here's what it says "If you do not have a regular health care provider and cannot afford to pay for a vaccine at a retail pharmacy, community vaccination sites are where you can get a free H1N1 vaccine in Multnomah County."
As I read that sentence, since I have insurance and can afford the vaccine, I should not go to those community sites.
- There is indeed an unequal distribution of the vaccine that favors the community sites and the populations they serve (again, to quote from the site, those who "do not have a regular health care provider and cannot afford to pay for a vaccine").
- The best hypothesis (so far stated) around why H1N1 has been more deadly for communities of color is because communities of color have higher rates of things like asthma. Asthma, again, is my son's condition and the cause for my concern. So if the reason to target communities of color is the underlying conditions they are more likely to suffer from (e.g., asthma), that's a reason my son should also be given access to the vaccine.
- Again I'll state that if the vaccine were going "first" to only the insured or to clinics named "Anglo Health and Service Center" (or any term that suggested an expectation of a white population), I would ALSO have concerns. Ethnic background and insurance status are not good criteria for providing access to the vaccine. Unequal access to health services can manifest in both directions. It's not ok when it happens to anyone.

trying to patient:

Another mama got the vaccine at a clinic site for her high-risk child, so I'm confused as to why the positing of the "Anglo Health and Service Center" is continuing with you.

I am high risk, insured and my health care provider doesn't have the vaccine. My kid already has one dead parent as a result of the same chronic illness (asthma) I have. Still, I can't imagine myself begrudging the uninsured a vaccine for the reasons "anon" mentions above.

If I am concerned about the lethality of anything and MY kid, I figure out a "work around". That's what mamas do.


Joie, my kids got the flumist version 9 days ago and haven't experienced any side effects. Hope your little one doesn't either!

I just talked to someone at the Multnomah County flu line (1-800-978-3040) who assured me that people with insurance are welcome to go to the public clinics if they have insurance and their primary provider isn't providing the vaccine. He said, "we wouldn't deny anyone the vaccine just because your provider chose not to carry it." The list of clinics is here: http://www.flu.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/acd/flu/locations.shtml.

She is trying to defend herself against arguably unfair presumptions. Moreover, you are purposely not addressing most of the statements in her posts. You are grouping two different people's comments out of context to make a statement about your views. From what I can glean, you and "trying to be patient" are not adversaries. Perhaps what you are saying has very little to do with them/her and more to do with you.

I hope everyone is able to get their vaccinations (if they elect to do so). Best of luck with this; my college student has already had it and says it is horrible. He was out for three days and still sounds pretty bad, but at least the aches and pains have subsided.


I think the problem is that the Multnomah County web site is a bit confusing. Because directly underneath the portion that Trying to be Patient quoted, there's this:

"Community Vaccination Sites

For adults and children in the current priority groups (see Who Can Get Vaccinated, above). No advance sign-up. Just show up. Additional locations will be added as information becomes available. Schedule subject to change. Please check back for updates."

So anyone in that priority group is welcome, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Thank you settling that Helen, having not read the site that closely I wasn't aware that TTP's questions were answered on the site.

I think it's okay to disagree on the distribution of vaccines, if indeed it were true that TTP's child couldn't get a vaccine. Since we now have confirmed repeatedly that he CAN get the vaccine throughout this thread, I guess I was curious as to why we're still discussing a reverse discrimination scenario.

I don't think anyone is TTP's adversary, lauralye. And I think it's okay to discuss public health policy and the socio-economic implications.

I'm probably not going to get the vaccine and I'm still chapped that the provider that I pay $650.00 per month pre-tax for my daughter and myself doesn't have it. Really, Kaiser, really!?!?!?!?!?

I think it is essential to discuss issues surrounding health care and socio-economic risk factors and policies. I would never want anyone to think that I want these issues ignored or neglected.

To my reading, there seems to have been a tone of attack where an imparting of clarity and information was needed. I think points were raised due to the fact that other's the perceived statements made as disparaging and judgmental. Without context and non-verbals, this can often happen.

No one in my family is able to get the vaccine from our doctors either, so we will most likely hit the clinics if we fit the criteria.

Thank you urbanmamas - without this thread, I would not have known that my kid & I are eligible to get injections at a public health clinic tomorrow.

Our ped office ordered vaccine, the health system I work with ordered vaccine -- but since yield has been lower, they didn't get what they ordered. I suspect the same is true for Kaiser.

But if you or your children are in the prioritized criteria (children are by definition), you can get them through the clinics. I called the state H1N1 hotline to verify that tomorrow's clinic is injection not mist (my child is not supposed to get the mist) and they referred me back to the actual clinic hosting tomorrow. The clinic confirmed they have adult & pediatric doses of injections. YAY.

Amen, ProtestMama. I pay Kaiser plenty more than the number you mention and it's crazy they don't have enough. The fact that they'll pay for me to get it elsewhere is something, I suppose, but seems pretty insane.

And, am I the only one who is suspicious about a vaccine that people are afraid of, that folks complain hasn't been adequately tested, and whose makers have pretty little liability if things go wrong is being offered first to communities who have fewer resources? Call me paranoid and a conspiracy theorist, but anytime the more advantaged folks aren't offered something first, I'm suspicious.

My daughter has the H1N1 flu now and I am considering not being super cautious and getting it myself which I am sure sounds nuts. I read several books many years ago about the 1918 flu because I am a history buff and with the 3rd and 4th waves it was the most deadly to healthy people who did not get it in the previous rounds. I am really on the fence about this vaccine because they are cutting corners and using nasty toxic preservatives to get it out faster. I don't know if they would even recommend the vac for a kid who already had it? My job offered me a letter since I work directly with high risk populations but I am going to forgo it for myself.


My understanding is that since they are no longer offering blood tests to confirm the H1N1 diagnosis, they are urging all kids to be vaccinated, even if they think they have already had it.

To respond to trying to be patient and dispel rumors, anyone, anyone who is in the priority groups can get an H1N1 shot from the county vaccination sites. You can also make an appointment. If you have insurance, you can still get a shot from the county. The clinics start on the 22nd and are open to all. You can find the list of clinics here: http://mchealth.org/swineflu/vaccine.shtml or you can call the county immunization clinic 503-988-3828. I just called to confirm that the clinics were open to all in the priority groups and they do have some single dose thimerosol free shots.

from the website those priority groups are:
* Pregnant women
* Children and young adults, ages 6 months to 24 years of age
* Persons who live with or provide care for infants less then 6 months old
* Persons 25-64 years of age who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza, such asthma, heart disease or HIV
* Health care workers and emergency medical service workers

Having a 8 month old baby, I've been fearful since the flu emerged. I just want to put out that in a climate of fear it's not helpful or healthful to scapegoat our neighbors and spread incorrect information.

Sort of a random question...Does anyone know if it is okay to get the H1N1 FluMist if my 3 year old has a runny nose? I've read on some sites that children should be completely healthy when getting vaccinated and others that a runny nose is okay. My daughter is in preschool and has a runny nose every other week, as do most of her classmates.

Vaxing anyway:

I'm suspicious as well and had decided not to get vacc'd but now on the fence because the teen works with small children and babies, in addition to being in school herself.

Eeeek! Eeeep!

Last night we were adviced by the afterhoutrs advice to take our 3 1/2 yr old son to the ER based on his fever and rapid breathing.
This was our first trip to the ER with our son. We went to the Emanuel Childrens Hosp ER - we were asked to all out ob surgical masks - the waiting room was semi packed it was 11:30pm. When we saw the Dr about 2 hrs later - he said our son probably had the swine flu - told us to alternate between tylenol & ibuprofin and monitor over the next 3 days. No blood test. He also said there is no need to vacinate against swine flu since he is now already immune.

Today my son seems fine.

When I went to my doctor's office earlier this week they had the H1N1 mist available with no restrictions (meaning anyone could get it). Also, perhaps someone already posted this, but it was free for everyone.

My pediatrician said she wouldn't give the mist to my daughter, who is a few months over 2, because she said that if they aren't old enough to sniff it all up sufficiently through their nose, it may not be effective. But of course, they were out of the shot version, go figure.

Does it seem odd to anyone that the government has an emergency shortage of the flu shot the same year that they launch the flumist as an alternative? And after they have announced to everyone that this would be the worst flu season in decades?
Not to mention that the flu mist is a live virus, that is still infectious for up to 21 days. Recipients of flu mist are supposed to stay away from the immunodeficient and INFANTS for 21 days. As the mother of a tiny baby and wife of a type 1 diabetic, this makes me, um, nervous. Are we to stay home for the rest of winter?
There has been a lot of talk on urbanMamas about parents responsibility to vaccinate our children. What about the responsibility of parents who have vaccinated with flu mist to others?



The community clinics have both injected and flumist versions of the vaccine. As an asthmatic, I would be getting the injectable version anyway, but if you have concerns about exposure to your infant and husband, then I don't see why you would not be able to get the injectables too. When I called the Health Department to make sure the clinics would have the injections as well as the flumist, they did not indicate to me that there was a certain criteria for the injected ones, with the exception of the preservative free ones that are specifically for pregnant women.

The above link gives details about the flumist, including how it works, how it is "weakened" and the likelihood of it being contagious. To answer you question about the responsibility of those vaccinated with flumist to the general public, it seems that it would be the same as it always is; wash hands frequently in soap and warm water, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough and stay home if you have flu symptoms. I don't see how any sort of flu vaccine changes that one way or the other.

I know that this flu was predicted to be much worse than it actually is and because of this billions of dollars were invested in making the vaccine. There is so much vaccine being made that needs to be paid for. I feel a lot of the hype is due to this and I am not going to buy into it. What is everyone so afraid of? Your children getting a fever and being sick? It is actually better for their immune systems for them to catch the flu than get the vaccine, because then they have permanent immunity to it. The vaccine is a crap shoot anyway, no guarantee that it even works. The children who have died that had H1N1 actually died from complications from other chronic diseases they had NOT the flu. It's time to put things in perspective here and to do your homework! The medical literature is out there for all to analyze and I think if we all did this we would find better answers than just freaking out because of all the media hype. I can't believe how people are so panicked about this!! Although it would not be fun, I am not afraid for my child to get the flu because I know he will be just fine.

A friend in public health just sent this. Whether or not you're getting vaccinated, this is good advice to keep flu and colds away:

The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps, not fully highlighted in most official communications, can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap).

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population. Neti pots and sinus rinse kits are available at the drug store and relatively inexpensive... under $15.

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C. If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

No Vaccine Mama, what you say is almost always true about children who die from other vaccine-preventable diseases. When a kid dies of measles, for example it's almost always because of pre-existing, underlying health issues.

But from what I've read, while most kids recover from H1N1 just fine, there are plenty of confirmed cases of previously healthy kids dying from it.

"Of 36 confirmed deaths in patients younger than 18, eight were in children who were 5 or older and had no chronic medical conditions, according to an article in the Sept. 4 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report."


That was from September 1. That means that just under a quarter of all child swine flu deaths to that point had been in healthy kids.

I'm on the delayed/selective track with the conventional vaccines.But I'm thinking really hard about this one.

For your sake, No Vaccine Mama, I hope you are right that your child will be fine. My family is getting over the flu now, and it looks like we will be fine. But statistics show this flu is more of a killer (for younger people and pregnant women especially) than the seasonal flu, and the trouble often comes from a secondary infection in the lungs. Personally I would not let my over-confidence in a particular stance (the idea that vaccines are bad, for example), cloud my judgement.

Jennifer Gilden, thank you so much!

I just drove by the County Health Department H1N1 vaccine clinic at about 106th and Glisan about an hour ago (it is listed on the website) and the line was insane! It was a couple of blocks long and several people deep the whole way. I am alone with my three year old and three month old and do not think I can face that kind of line with both of them. I think it would have taken hours to get through it. I would recommend anyone who is going to these clinics to arrive early, and maybe bring two adults so one can hold a spot and one can entertain the kid(s).

Thank you for those wonderful tips, Jennifer!

I heard from a friend at the IRCO site vaccine clinic, that they handed out 500 tickets, and if you had a ticket you got a shot. Apparently people also cut in line to get to the gym where they were handing out the tickets, and were able to get them ahead of people who were waiting in line, and then didn't get one. Friend waited over an hour and didn't get a ticket/vaccine. I saw the zoo, figured they couldn't handle all those people in 4 hours, and left. This should be verified, but friend heard that all clinics are getting 500 vaccines each, so there will probably always be such a line.

To No Vaccine Mama, sounds like your family is low risk for complications due to the flu. You may not have read through all these comments, but many people here and trying to get the vaccine are at risk for complications, or work with people who are at risk. These people are the ones that are anxious, and they have every right and reason to be. I'm sure the people who have family who have had serious issues or death due to the flu strain would not appreciate your comments. Just because something is not a real threat to you, doesn't mean it's not a real threat to others. Also there are many people who don't have paid sick time, and taking off work would be a hardship on their family, yet coming to work sick might infect someone who is at risk for complications. Vaccination is a simple way to reduce risk, and people are contagious before they exhibit symptoms, so for a lot of the population this is a good control.

I fear this is mostly a moot discussion at this point, because H1N1 is running rampant through the schools - it's gonna get most of us before the vaccine does.

Tried to go to the clinic today for me (pregnant) and my 2 year old. No dice after 2 hours of waiting. Is there ANYWHERE else I can get it? We will try again on Saturday, but I am not confident. We have Kaiser and Kaiser has no stash yet. I deliver any day now and want that shot! 12 people at my husband's office have the flu - a 10 day version that has hospitalized 2 very healthy adults. Please help a mama out. Can I go someplace else? Where?

Rosemary, thank you for your thoughtful response to No Vaccine Mama.

I got the flu after having a serious reaction to accidentally ingesting gluten thanks to Floradix, lipstick, and blue cheese. I have Celiac Disease, which is autoimmune (only when I ingest gluten). Thus, it made me vulnerable to other bugs.

We are both in school part-time, are self-employed, and are parents to a two year old. The fact that I've been sick now with Celiac and now the flu for 2.5 weeks has cost us so much money in additional care for our child, lost productivity for our business, and well over $100 in herbal supplements to combat my virus. It will take quite some time for us to recover financially and otherwise.

If I could have gotten a vaccine prior to getting this in order to spend more time with my child, help grow our business, and save our family about $400 in unplanned expenses, I gladly would have.

Our son is getting vaccinated tomorrow. We didn't make this decision lightly. It is possible that A has inherited my Celiac Disease and my autoimmune thyroid disease. Sure, we eat gluten and dairy free, but sometimes things slip that could compromise his immune system. I've done a lot of research and have decided to trust our pediatrician on this one. In this case, I strongly believe that the benefits outweigh the risks.

anon - I wish I could point you in the right direction to get the shot. You have every right to be concerned! In the meantime, you may want to talk with a naturopath (like Dr. Ed Hoffman Smith, who is also a midwife) about things you can do now to kill off any virus that might be lingering and to prevent you from getting sick.

I've seen Dr. Ed for myself and my son and trust him immensely. Vitamin A drops, Vitamin D, a Meyers Cocktail (intravenous virus kililng vitamins), and some herbs can be really helpful. Also, my other naturopath, Dr. Daniel Chong (Nalu Kai Natural Health) will be stocking an herb that has been known to kill this particular virus. The natural medicine college here in PDX will also be stocking antiviral herbs for H1N1.

Most recent anon:
I heard from friend (delivering soon, like yourself) that on the OR state flu site you can call a reference line and find out doctors that have the vaccine. But, it will take a bit of time because some have only the mist but aren't differentiated on the list, so you have to call and find out who has the shot.



Try the WIC clinic in Gateway (131 NE 102nd). My son and I got our shots, and my husband got the nose spray, there today and they are having another clinic tomorrow morning from 9-12. Call first to confirm. Number is 503-988-3663 ext 22397. The line was not bad -- nothing like the zoo at the IRCO this morning.

Another point to consider -- Correct me if I am wrong. Yes people are dying from complications, not necessarily the flu itself, but they would not have the complications but for the flu. So if you protect yourself from the flu, you protect yoursefl from the complications. Right?

To anon who is a Kaiser member: I had my infant at Kaiser yesterday to see the pediatrician for non-flu reasons and was asking him about the vaccine. He said that Kaiser does have some doses and that they are reserving them for high-risk people since they don't have enough for everyone yet. You might want to call and politely insist on getting one of those doses from them! You should qualify as high-risk because of your pregnancy.

It is sort of frustrating to me that people are being poo pooed for taking their children and themselves to the emergency room (see today's O), when there is a window of time that you need to be evaluated in if you want to get Tamiflu. We did take our son (last Sunday, and the ER was empty at 9:30) for that reason, but did not get the Tamiflu after the doctor evaluated him and said he probably didn't need it. He did have the flu (he is better now and back at school), but it was early in illness when we went to the ER. We tried to go to an urgent care place, but they didn't take our insurance, and, being Sunday, the doctor's office was closed. I would suggest that people are doing this because clear alternatives are not always available.

FYI - this is posted on the Multnomah Co. health website regarding clinics tomorrow and in the future.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Effective October 24, due to unexpected delays in H1N1 vaccine production, vaccinations will be available to pregnant women and children under 5. This is based on who we know has been getting severely ill and having complications. In addition, all community vaccination clinics scheduled after Saturday, Oct. 24 have been cancelled.
We understand your frustration and appreciate your patience. Please check back for updates.

Everyone's probably already seen this:

German soldiers are getting the mercury free flu vaccine. Shouldn't we get the same one?
Here is the article in German:

Here is a discussion in English about it:

Flumist is mercury free, isn't it?

So, tons of flu cases and no vaccine until November. I wonder if this is the year that Halloween gets canceled? When I was a little kid, it seemed like I always got really sick a few days after a round of cold weather trick or treating.

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