Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Like many of you, my husband and I debated as to whether or not to get the kids vaccinated this season against H1N1. With our children in preschool, we were more inclined to arm ourselves against the hyped virus, but unsure whether or not it was necessary due to other procedures we could take to stay healthy.

When the schools and local pediatricians became inundated with hundreds of new cases, we became concerned (along with every other parent in the town) and sought the quickest, easiest solution to prevent experiencing this illness.

Our pediatrician initially received the H1N1 nasal mist and you'd better believe I was first in line with my boys. We had enjoyed a relatively healthy fall and I wasn't about to jeopardize it (heavy irony here).

Day 1: Boys are willing patients. Docs immunize older two with H1N1 nasal vaccine and seasonal flu shot. The baby gets the seasonal flu shot. Later that evening M (oldest, 4.5) complains of being tired and has spiked a fever of 102.5. We assuage with Ibuprofen and send him to bed.

Day 2: M continues with fever of 103+. Other boys remain cheery and happy.

Day 3: Continuation of high fever with signs of Ibuprofen having a longer effect.

Day 4: M's fever abates, respiratory symptoms begin. Later that evening, T complains of fatigue and begins running a fever, lower-grade. Middle of the night, baby awakens with fever of 101.

Day 5: Younger boys run lower-grade fevers and begin respiratory symptoms. M continues with respiratory symptoms--cough and congestion. Baby is tested for swine flu--Negative. (Apparently 20% of cases are false negatives. I believe ours was.)

Day 6: Mom begins to run low-grade fever, feels tired. T (3) begins to feel better as fever abates. Baby maintains 101 fever. M hampered by cough.

Day 7: Mom runs very slight fever (99.3) and begins to see respiratory symptoms. Older boys are better but with coughs. Baby still with low-grade fever and chest congestion.

Day 8: Everyone's fevers are gone!!! We make a trip to the HomeGoods store and come back, completely wiped out. We are all coughing and congested, but ok.

Day 9: Mom visits the doc to check on a recurring ear infection, randomly decides to be tested for swine flu. POSITIVE for swine flu; contagious until Friday. The doc thinks I picked it up from the kids' vaccination response. Praise God it is subsequently a very, very mild form of the virus.

All of our attempts to stay healthy, get vaccinated, etc., etc. has cost us this. If I had it to do all over again, I can't tell you I would do this again. One thing is for sure, I will never vaccinate my children with a live flu mist again. We had a bad reaction last year to the seasonal flu mist and now we're once again dealing with the aftermath of the H1N1 live mist. I do not claim to be a knowledgeable medical source on the subject, but thought our readers would benefit from knowing our situation. God bless!


educare said...

This is the very reason we do not get any seasonal or new vaccinations in our home. I was "talked into it" one year when there was a very bad flu season on our island in Alaska. That was the ONLY year anyone has ever gotten the flu in our house--after they were vaccinated.

I have so little trust in our government, particularly when it comes to health care. I do not believe the H1N1 hype. Good eating, good exercise and good sleep--that's the triple "vaccine" we rely on here.

Jess said...

B-mama, would recommend getting the injection then, rather than the live mist? I think vaccinations are important, if only to help protect the least among us who are unable to get vaccinated. By the rest of us being vaccinated we provide immunity to those around us as well.

Right Said Red said...

B-Mama, I'm sooo sorry to hear that you all got sick! We are debating the vaccine around here, and I'm pretty anti-vaccine (I delay and forgo certain shots altogether). We have never gotten the flu vaccine either! But unfortunately, I don't think the H1N1 scare is all hype. Currently in our town there are children (otherwise healthy) in the ICU due to H1N1 complications. My brother and sister in law (both otherwise healthy) had H1N1 and both required trips to the hospital. I haven't seen this in otherwise healthy individuals with the regular flu. It sticks. I'm frightened for the health of our 1 month old baby...

Kathy, while I think you make some good points, and I always agree that eating right, exercise, and adequate sleep are far more important than vaccines, your tone is a bit condescending. There are some tough decisions we all must make when it comes to illness, and due to special circumstances, what is right for one family may not work for another. Everyone has different issues when it comes to their health.

Prayers for a speedy return to health for you and your children B-mama.

HappyMOM said...

If it makes you feel any better, our young family got the swine flu and we did not get vaccinated. It wasn't an option because our healthcare provider did not have it available. Although it wasn't fun, I thought it was pretty mild considering the hype and scare.

Elena said...

I had no idea that there was such a thing as a nasal-mist vaccination. This must not be available here in Canada where we only get tested for swine flu if we are dead or hospitalised. Our docs just assume we have H1N1 if we have flu-like symptoms (I am not being facetious). Socialised medicine - need I say more?

Right Said Red said...

I meant to say stinks, not sticks!

Molly said...

B-Mama, so sorry to hear about your and your boys' flus! I think I would also have some reservations about the nasal mist (which is a live, but weakened, version of the virus, if I understand correctly). That being said, I think maybe getting the shot (a dead version of the virus) might be the way to go.

I had the H1N1 shot a few weeks ago, experienced no side effects, and am glad that I might be able to pass some antibodies on to our baby who's due in December.

mommy of5 said...

We are in the middle of that debate in our home. The only time we have ever had the flu in our house was the yr we had flu vaccinations. I ususally forgo the flu vaccine. My 4 boys have asthma & I feel like we are at risk, but if there is a slight risk of getting sick from a vaccine chances are we will get sick & with 4 little boys & a pregnant mommy who can handle all the kids being sick but if we don't will we later regret our decision? Yes it is a hard choice & I agree that every family has to wade thru the pros & cons to do what is best for them.

Rory said...

I'm no epidemiologist, but I've read that the H1N1 mist vaccine "sheds" live virus for a period of up to two weeks after getting it. (That's why people with immuno-compromised family members shouldn't get). So if that's true, wouldn't you test positive for H1N1 regardless at this point, whether you were sick with a H1N1 or if you had gotten a different virus? Since you definitely have been exposed to live virus, whether it was what made you sick or whether you simultaneously got something else on top of that -- it seems like it would be hard to distinguish. Maybe there is a way to know, and perhaps a more qualified person can weigh in.

I would like my children to get the vaccine (preferably the injectable, after reading this!) but it is not available yet at our pediatrician. Since there are several cases in our neighborhood I think we're likely to get it before the vaccine comes in. I hope it will be mild if we do.

educare said...

"Kathy, ... your tone is a bit condescending" Wow, I don't get this. Condescending to whom? Good grief, I was agreeing with the original poster about reasons not to get the H1N1 vaccine and sharing my family's personal experience with the flu vaccine (which was an injection of killed virus).

Nothing in my brief comment was directed at anyone. If someone wants to get the vaccine, who am I to say otherwise? It's none of my business what others do, aside from the 4 children in my charge, that is.

Nicole said...

Four of our five (the youngest was too young to get it) received the seasonal flu nasal spray. The youngest two developed a fever for one day and that was it, and I expected more side effects with the spray. I opted for the nasal spray because it was the only vaccine we could get that was mercury free. I am glad everything worked out ok for your family. It does make me pause for when my kids are able to get the H1N1 vaccine. I am not sure which they will get now!

Juris Mater said...

We got only the regular flu shot, and this week we are swine fluing around here. Our pediatricians say everyone has it right now, and the kids are recovering well at home. So far my bravest and most good-natured child 4 year old Bella is the only one to come down with it, and she's tried so hard to be a good sport. I'm concerned for if/when my others get it, and if I do. We're bracing ourselves.

Kerry said...

Well I had already decided against getting the vaccine all together. Last week my twin daughters Lindley Kate and Ellie got the swine flu. I have to say for us, this was such a mild case of the flu,no cough, just runny nose, sneezing and fever. I think the reaction that B-Mama's boys got from the vaccine was worse than my girls's actual case of the flu. We do live in Florida and the weather here is warm still so that could be making a difference in the severity of the swine flu down here but it is spreading around here like wildfire and from what I hear the cases here have been very mild. I also read on Dr. Sears' website about this vaccine that the numbers for H1N1 are matching up with the seasonal flu ie, deaths, people catching it etc... Not to downplay it but I do think the media has hyped it up big time. From a RN perspective, I certainly would recommend getting the H1N1 vaccine alone and not combined with any other vaccine especially the seasonal flu. This is the first year the vaccine has been given and I feel we just don't know the potential side effects, especially in combination with other vaccines. Your boys probably would have reacted the same even if you had held the seasonal flu and just given the H1N1 nasally but maybe their immune system was a little overloaded with trying to fight two strains of the flu and it could have made their subsequent reaction worse. Who knows?? Just a thought.I guess what bothers me most, is that they are saying it is safe to give it with other vaccines and my question is how do they really know???

Also, in regards to Tamiflu...I decided to forgo that as well even though we caught it in the first 48 hours. It has a lot of side effects,one of them, vomiting. I didn't want to bring on symptoms that didn't already exist and also my pediatrician said because the side effects of tamiflu have been so severe nationwide, (people say they feel worse taking it than just having the actual flu)the dosage recommendations have been lowered! I found that to be interesting. Good news is my girls are well and neither me or the husband caught it. I hope the boys and you are feeling better B-Mama.

Karen said...

This year the kids and I all received regular flu shots. We had the injection, which is suppose to be a dead virus. I also learned it takes too weeks for it to become effective. I know nothing about the nasal spray, but after your post - I think I will stay with the shot.

We decided to get the shot because last year I picked up a lot of viruses at the store I work at in the evening. After I got the flu shot, I found out my white blood cells are low, so I am very glad I did get it. Also, having my family members get the shot will help to keep me healthy. So, it is not just something you get for yourself, but for other people as well.

Even though I did have to go to the emergency room (only because it was a Saturday) for Cellulitis at the injection site . Don't let this part stop anyone from getting a vaccine. It probably because of my immune system or the fact I tapped my arm at the injection site and said, "See kids, that did not hurt at all."

At first I thought the swine flu was just another scare tactic from the media, but after actually knowing people who had it - I take it more seriously. Still, I do not like taking any brand new medicine that is on the market. The post and the comments are very helpful in deciding. Thanks.

Mary Alice said...

I am just in a state about what is going on with the vaccines right now. We had nasal mist h1n1 vaccine for our older four, but they are not recommending it for children under 3. I have two of those, so they are not vaccinated. In the meantime, my doctor keeps running out of the regular flu vaccine. They cancelled our appointment, then sent an email today to the entire patient group saying they had it in, the phone was busy for 30 minutes while I tried to get an appointment, then they sent another email saying that the appointments were all gone.

The fact that I HAD an appointment 2 WEEKS AGO that they did not honor does not get me any sort of PREFERENCE as the new vaccines arrive -- it is like a radio call in contest -- if I happen to be at my desk when they send the email and happen to have time to call a million times, we will get the vaccine.

B-Mama, I would suggest that what you saw was still MILD compared to what the virus has been doing to some people. If all of you had it and are on the road to recovery in just a few days, that is pretty good. People we know have had related pneumonia, been hospitalized, been out of school or work for several weeks, so who knows whether you are better off vaccinated?

My kids got the vaccine about a week ago. One had a low fever and cough last night, which did not develop into anything further, not sure if it is related.

One bummer is that we wind up exposed to germs whenever we go to the doctor, even for well visits, we often get sick right after!

I don't watch the news because of all the scare tactics, so I am interested to hear so many of you say that you have it right now -- how do you know, have you been tested, like BMama? Is conventional wisdom that if you are sick right now, that is what you have? It seemed last spring that doctors were hesitant to call anything the H1N1 flu, we had bad colds when the flu was around and they kept reassuring me that if you had this you would REALLY be knocked out by it. Having had the regular flu, I remember that, no comparison to even a bad cold, it felt so awful.

Once I hear many internet families have something, it usually comes to our neighborhood shortly -- I am hearing about both cold/fever and stomach bugs going around right now, I think we may stop leaving the house for a while! Come on, Danielle Bean does it, go hear all about it over at Faith and Family podcasts!

Maria said...

Since I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy, which seems to be the highest risk group for serious complications or death from H1N1, I waited in line about 4 hours two weekends ago to get the injectable vaccine. However, on the advice of my OB, I haven't given my three kids (all 4 and under)the vaccine yet since only the nasal spray was available. My OB recommended I not give the live virus vaccine to anyone in the house since I would be at a slight risk of contracting it. After hearing your story, I'm glad I took her advice! Thankfully, this week our local health department has more of the injectable vaccine available and is making appointments. Hopefully, I won't be waiting in any more long lines!

Kat said...

We have something here in our household, but I haven't taken the kids to the pediatrician to be tested because I'm afraid of contracting something even worse than what we already have! After 4 days of fever, Christopher is finally "fever-free" but I'm keeping him home from school an extra day just to be safe. His temps seem to rise as the day goes on, but hopefully today they'll stay steady.

I am now concerned about getting the H1N1 vaccine for myself and the kids because it does seem like our immune systems are down already. I'm worried that we'd be hit by another round of flu. It is possible that we have H1N1 now, and if fever returns I'll take us all in to be tested.

Has anyone tried an urgent care clinic as opposed to a pediatrician's office? I went to one two weeks ago (when we had a different virus) and HIGHLY recommend it. NO WAIT, therefore less risk of contracting something, and no other sick people around. Our co-pay was the same since our insurance was accepted - most insurance was accepted - so I don't see any downside. I'll go there if we need to see the doctor this week. We went to a Concentra urgent care clinic, by the way.

educare said...

Another thing that convinced me not to get the H1N1 vaccine for my family is the report of a case of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)in our area after a woman received the H1N1 vaccine. This is a serious disease that is a rare reaction to some flu vaccines.

Also, my sister is an MD (internal medicine) and told me the same thing an earlier poster reported from Dr. Sears. She has seen nothing out of the ordinary track for influenza.

texas mommy said...

Prayers for a speedy recovery for you! Glad to see your big boys are back in commission!