Flu and Vaccines: Assignment

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Part I

1. At the turn of the century, the United States encountered one of the most deadly pandemics the world has ever known - the Spanish flu. The flu, caused by H1N1 virus, claimed the lives of 675,000 Americans during World War I. About forty years later, in 1957, another pandemics caused by H2N2 killed approximately 70,000 Americans. The virus, which contained genes from human and avian influenza, was firstly identified in China then quickly spread to other parts of the world. In 1968, an outbreak of H3N2 virus (which also was the result of human and avian influenza genes) occurred and caused 34,000 deaths among Americans. The most recent occurrence of influenza viruses was what called the “Swine Flu.” The Swine Flu was caused by a new strain of H1N1 virus and had it outbreak just last year in 2009.

2. For my assignment, I have to choose three out of five people to give vaccinations or nasal spray to because of the limited resource. My choice, after having done the research, would be:

1.Bogey Phlegmenstein – the 50 year-old pharmacist for the vaccine. 2.Helen Hornblower – the 72 year-old grandmother for the vaccine, and 3.Lars Loogenkugel – the 19 year-old college student for the nasal mist flu shot.

I choose Lars for the nasal mist flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, nasal spray should only be given to healthy people age 2-49 and not pregnant. Since Lars is the only person within the approved age and is not pregnant, he seems to be the only choice!

The other people in the group all seem to be at equal risk of catching the flu, however, I choose Bogey and Helen to give the vaccines to because there are more reasons for me to do so.

Helen is at risk because firstly, she’s an elderly – the group of people that is at high risk of catching flu, according to CDC. Secondly, Helen’s grandchildren are young (3, 5 and 8 years of age) and they visit her very often. Her eldest grandchild has asthma which, according to the Government Medicare’s website, places her at more risk of catching the flu if her grandma has it. Lastly, I choose to give Helen the shot because here she can get it for free. Helen’s regular medications already cost her lot of money because her Medicare does not cover it for her.

Next, I choose Bogey because he has three risk factors. Firstly, he’s in the age group that is more prone to getting sick from influenza (people age 50 and over, according to CDC). He also has a history of having secondary bronchitis and pneumonia which, according to the Government Medicare’s website, place him “at higher risk for having medical complications from influenza and should receive the flu shot.” Lastly, Bogey works at a pharmacy, where he is exposed to sick people that come and get their medicines. That increases his risk of getting the flu.

I do not choose Nadia – the pregnant woman because even though she is in one of the groups that have high risk of getting influenza, she has always been healthy. Her workplace seems safer than Bogey’s and her husband (who is the only person she interacts with at home) has consistently had vaccinations. Also, even though Nadia babysits her sister’s 2 year-old twins, it only happens occasionally so the kids are not at high risk of having the flu if their aunt has it.

I also do not choose Marian, the 18 month-old baby who is also in one of the groups that face high risk of having flu (children younger than 2 years old, according to CDC). Her caregiver (which is her mom) works at a long-term care facility, which places her at high risk but luckily, Marian’s mom has already been vaccinated. It reduces the risk of the mom getting sick and passes it to her baby. ConsumerReports.Org also advises that “If your child has had three or more ear infections in one winter, you might want to ask your doctor about getting a flu vaccine.” Marian has had ear infections twice in the past 8 months and that...
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