Swine Flu Vaccine Update

By J. Manuel Cordova, M. D.

 

swine_flu_1976There are a number of different opinions around the world regarding the necessity and benefit of a vaccination for the 2009 HlN1 Influenza, the proper name for the Swine Flu.

The purpose of this article is not to give you my personal opinion about getting, or not getting, the vaccination. I want to give you information about a possible alternative if you are unable to get the vaccine.

The United States is spending over $1 Billion for vaccine and has ordered over 75 million doses of vaccine from a French Pharmacy. The vaccine will be produced by companies located in Australia, United States, Switzerland and France and sold through the pharmacy in France. China is also expected to start vaccinations by the end of October.

I have seen no published dates as to when Mexico might have access to the vaccine, but possibly in November, and probably available only for Government Healthcare Institutions.

Historic information shows that epidemic influenza is very likely to be seasonal. More cases develop in the winter months than summer, which means the worst is yet to come for more outbreaks of the H1N1 virus.

In the 1918-1919 Influenza pandemic in the United States, fatalities were generally due to subsequent pneumonia and were much higher in the northern states than the southern states. The difference was primarily the Solar UVB doses……. the ‘Sun’.

Vitamin D is the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’. There are current studies that show a major reduction of influenza for patients taking large doses of Vitamin D verses those who are not.

Studies also show that pregnant and nursing women can reduce their risk by taking increased amounts of Vitamin D. The daily amount for maximum benefit when you need to have any form of influenza protection would be 4000-6000 IU per day.

Be careful, however. According to another study, doses exceeding 800 IU/day may adversely effect Magnesium levels. Other researchers suggest that, except for those with vitamin D hypersensitivity, there is no evidence of adverse effects in doses around 10,000 IU/day.

Regular doses of Vitamin D for the general population to help reduce the risk of influenza would range from 2000-5000 IU per day.

Natural sunlight is also believed to be beneficial in helping to prevent the influenza. 10-20 minutes of sunlight a day is an adequate amount to obtain the benefit of the sun’s vitamin D. If you will be in the sun for longer periods of time, you may want to consider skin protection to prevent sunburn.

Of course, there are other issues regarding the sun and skin damage; however, the benefit of obtaining Vitamin D from the sun’s rays is clearly a factor in helping reduce the risk of influenza.

Each person is different. As a general rule, there is little downside to taking increased amounts of Vitamin D; whereas, the upside could very well be significant.

Remember, Influenza attacks are not new. Humanity has historically dealt with viruses. People who are disabled or those with delicate health conditions are always at a higher risk.

The Pandemic classification of the H1N1 virus is a daily reminder of the potential danger of this virus.

A medical consultation by a qualified physician may also help provide additional guidance.

Good Luck in staying healthy this Flu Season.

(Ed. Note: Dr. Cordova is an Internal Medicine and Geriatrics Specialist and full time resident of Lakeside.

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Office: 376 766 2777

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