by Rebecca Shatsky, MD 2011
If you haven’t had your flu vaccine yet this year, there is no time like the present. Last year’s flu season left the whole world reeling with the introduction of our new friend H1N1: schools across America were closed, people stood in line for hours to get vaccinated and medical intensive care units in hospitals across the country were full of unsuspecting otherwise healthy patients who were unlucky enough to come down with this highly transmissible infection. One little shot could prevent all this chaos and leave you resting comfortably at night. Seems like a no-brainer to us.
Although the 2009 H1N1 “swine flu” caused quite the stir last year, the world somehow emerged relatively unscathed at the end of the natural flu season. In August 2010, the World Health Organization officially declared the H1N1 pandemic to be over. But now, as the temperature drops and we inch towards cold and flu season, the panic of 2009 is starting to reemerge, as is the question (that has really yet to be addressed by the media), “Whatever happened to swine flu?” So before this year’s flu virus starts spreading like wildfire, we at House Call, MD would like to take the opportunity to explain the natural course of the seasonal flu, what was different about last year’s pandemic and what to expect this upcoming flu season.