Recently I found myself in a local convenience store. Although it was an unseasonably cold fall day, I was dressed for winter. Multiple layers, a coat with a hood. I was sick, and, unable to eat or drink much, my goal was to get a sports drink without passing out in the store. After having only a quarter of the drink, I settled in to endure 20 minutes of chills. At that point, I realized I was sick ... really sick. Physicians, such as myself, have a high threshold for visiting a doctor, but I met it.
The doctor at the urgent care diagnosed me with probable flu, which was upgraded to definite H1N1 after laboratory testing. Although my symptoms could be classified as only mild to moderate by medical standards, to me my wheezing, coughing, malaise, dizziness, unmentionable GI symptoms, chills, muscle pains and general uncalled-for grumpiness toward my wife and children were severe. Although I was vaccinated for seasonal flu, H1N1 vaccine wasn't widely enough available to save me from these symptoms.
As a medical professional, an H1N1 flu sufferer and a parent to young children, I am appalled by the anti-vaccine lobby using this preventable but deadly disease as a springboard to further their goals. Putting aside time-worn and thoroughly discredited arguments about adjuvants, Guillain-Barre and autism, it is the H1N1 flu that kills, not the vaccine.
At this point in the epidemic, almost the same number of children have died from H1N1 as usually die during the entire flu season, and it is only October. Please vaccinate your children for H1N1. As children tend to pass along the disease to other children and adults, you will be saving yourself and those you love from misery and, perhaps, even death.
ERIC RICKIN, M.D.