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Living Contraindicated Rheumatoid Arthritis

Contraindications and being Vaccinated for the Swine Flu

Contraindicated.Org was originally created in 2002 when then President George Bush planned–as a preventative anti-terroism measure–to universally innoculate all of America’s citizens with the smallpox vaccine within one 30 day time period. This plan, with it’s swift and universal implementation pretty much meant that no one in the US could avoid being exposed–whether their personal health could withstand exposure or not. This meant that the plan had the potential to be an “isolated house arrest” and/or “potential disfigurement or death” sentence for a large segment of American citizens for whom the vaccine was “contraindicted.” Because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis which is an auto-immune disorder which in turn compromises my immune system and makes me more susceptible to infection and diseases I was one of those American citizens whose health and well-being were considered acceptable losses under this plan.

I created Contraindicated.Org out of anger and frustration.  It was my intention to have a site where people could go to light a virtual candle for everyone whose lives were lost through this plan. Then the plan was abandoned and the domain sat unused for many years. I revived it to provide a place where people could come to understand and talk about living with Rheumatoid Arthritis…and then the swine flu came along and suddenly contraindications to vaccines once again became an important consideration for the very young, the very old, the very frail, pregnant women, and people with auto-immune disorders. The difference between then and now is, that was a conscious decision made by the US government in response to a potential threat, and this is a reaction to a known threat–a fine, but very important, point of distinction.

The good news appears to be that the H1N1 virus doesn’t appear to be as naturally fatal as some of history’s prior pandemic creating flu strains.  True, the swine flu does appear to spread easily; but it doesn’t appear thus far as if its mortality rate will have as high a mortality rate (36,000 average) as generally occurs during a typical flu season. That, of course is small comfort to those who have and will lose loved ones to the swine flu. At this time there are really no contraindications to the Swine Flu vaccine because there really isn’t a dedicated swine flu vaccine available at this time. Nor, unfortunately is there any already built in immunity to this strain of swine virus. Also, unless some new miracle drug suddenly appears that will combat this new strain of swine flu while alleviating any issues with the time-honored standard vaccination formulary the old standard contraindications will probably apply–a fact which really can’t really be helped. However, the good news–as such–is that is in most cases the risks of being vaccinated are not severe enough be life threatening, or at least not any more life threatening than getting the swine flu itself when one is already in a weakened condition such as extreme youth, extreme age, frail health, pregnancy and auto-immune disorders.

Standard and probably any Swine Flu vaccines in general are to some degree contraindicated for the following groups of people–however in the case of a swine flu pandemic you are likely damned if you do and damned if you don’t, so you might very well be better off to go with the vaccination and hope for the best. However, do not make that decision without discussing it with your Doctor first! Remember, the vaccine contains a low level dose of the actual “flu virus” itself. The vaccination will not stop the flu from occuring but hopefully give you a mild case of it that will cause your body to start creating the necessary anti-bodies to stave off a more severe or even lethal case of the flu.

A flu vaccine may be contraindicated in some people, including:

* People who are severely allergic to chicken eggs

* People who have had a severe reaction to a prior influenza vaccine

* People who developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within 6 weeks of getting a previous flu vaccine

* Children under 6 months of age

* People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get a flu vaccine

People With the following diagnosed conditions

* Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

* Asthma

* Children who have previously been admitted to hospital for lower respiratory tract disease

Chronic Heart Disease

* Congenital heart disease

* Hypertension with cardiac complications

* Chronic heart failure

Chronic Renal Disease

* Chronic renal failure

* Nephrotic syndrome

* Renal transplantation

Chronic liver disease

* Cirrhosis

* Biliary atresia

* Chronic hepatitis

Chronic Neurological Disease

* Stroke

* Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)

Diabetes

* Type 1 diabetes

* Type 2 diabetes requiring insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs

* Diet controlled diabetes

Immunosuppression

* Rheumatoid Arthritis

* Immunosupression due to disease or treatment

* Patients undergoing chemotherapy leading to immunosuppression

* Asplenia or splenic dysfunction

* HIV infection

* Individuals treated with or likely to be treated with systemic steroids for more than a month at a dose equivalent to prednisolone at 20mg or more per day (any age) or for children under 20kg a dose of 1mg or more per kg per day.

Note: Some immunocompromised patients may have a suboptimal immunological response to the vaccine

The Frail Elderly and Their Cargivers

* Those living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality (this does not include prisons, young offender institutions, university halls of residence etc.)

* Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill. This should be given on an individual basis at the GP’s discretion in the context of other clinical risk groups in their practice.

Meanwhile you can do the following to prevent your exposure.

1. Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick.

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

3. Cover your mouth and nose.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Wash your hands with soap or an alcohol bases germicidial gel.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available you can use the alcohol bases germicidial gel in the squirt bottles, or pre-packaged moistened wraps or even pen-sized spray tubes to carry in your purse or shirt pocket.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Practice other good health habits.

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

9 Responses to “Contraindications and being Vaccinated for the Swine Flu”

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