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Doc recommends H1N1 vaccine

November 25, 2009 - Two days after receiving the H1N1 flu shot, David Lohmeier's oldest daughter Olivia, 14, came down with the flu. A few days later, her younger sister Emma was also sick.

"Both were fine through the weekend until Sunday came, that's when Olivia came down with it and the fever spiked," said David, Independence Township resident. "Olivia must have contacted it the day she got the vaccine or the day before because she didn't even make it through the weekend."

A combination of Celiac disease, which lowers immune system and asthma, made both girls part of the "target population" to receive the vaccine.

Symptoms of H1N1 are similar to seasonal flu, and include fever, muscle aches, sore throat, and nausea, but not much vomiting, occurring over 4-6 hours, according to Oakland County Health.

David said both girls were tested at Premier Pediatrics in Clarkston and it was confirmed they had the H1N1 virus. He said the girl's fevers peaked at 102-103 degrees.

"We would let it burn if it was 100, so we didn't over medicate but when it went over 101 we'd give them a reducer and it never got over 103," he said. "The fever hangs for the whole day too, it's not like you could break it and it would be gone for the rest of the day. It was always a low grade."

David said whenever the fever broke, Emma was on the phone with friends, trying not to fall behind in school. Olivia had a fever for five days, and Emma for three.

"I think the vaccine helped Emma get a lighter case," he said. "Having seen how bad the bug is, I was debating about getting the vaccine, my advice would be for people to get it."

Dr. Tim O'Neill, president of Clarkston Medical Group, said if it was only a few days after receiving the shot, then the body is not immune to the vaccine yet.

"No vaccine is a 100 percent," he said.

O'Neill said they saw 30-40 kids last month after an H1N1 breakout at Sashabaw Middle School.

"I would say it's leveled off now, but still quite prevalent around here right now," he said. "Like any flu outbreak, the young and the old and people with chronic diseases are always the most at risk."

O'Neill said he has also heard of a few cases of healthy young adults having problems, but hadn't seen it personally. O'Neill also noted H1N1 is not "that severe" of a flu, having contracted it himself.

"It's just a certian number of people are going to get it because there's very little immunity amongst all the population, so that's the problem with this strain," he said. "Less severity more just prevalence of how many people are going to get it."

It is spread when infected people sneeze, cough, or even talk, spraying the virus into the air where others can breathe it in. Flu symptoms usually start 1-4 days after infection. Adults with flu can spread it from one day before symptoms appear to 5-7 days after.

Bed rest, plenty of fluids and non-aspirin pain relievers help most people feel better. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend staying home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities.

"There is nothing I see better than common sense," O'Neill said. "Hand washing, avoiding sick people, get both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines, because we've got to remember we haven't even hit flu season yet, that will happen after the holidays, so we're in for a long one."

For more information visit the Center for Health Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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