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October 7th, 2009
07:05 AM ET

Dr. Gupta offers advice to parents on H1N1

(CNN) - Over this past week, I had some interesting conversations with colleagues who are also health care professionals. These conversations usually start with, "You know what I hate about the media ... ?"

Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to Dr. Jim Fortenberry, pediatrician in chief at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to Dr. Jim Fortenberry, pediatrician in chief at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Now, over the past eight years, I have grown accustomed to being engaged in these sort of discussions where I am asked about everything the "media" have reported over the past few months, and asked to defend things point by point. It can be a challenging task.

This time, however, the topic was H1N1, or swine flu.

I spent the weekend thinking about what I was being told, and realized there was a larger point here.

People were scared, more than I had seen in a long time. And, health care professionals were blaming the media - accusing them of being alarmist.

So, I decided to get away from the studio, away from the talking heads discussing mortality rates, and away from the hypothetical discussions about what might or might not happen. I wanted to see for myself what was happening in emergency rooms right now.

I was most curious about pediatric ERs, because young people seem to be most affected by this, and selfishly, I was curious about my own three girls and how I should react if they become ill this fall.

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Filed under: Health
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Brian T. McConnell

    The CDC talks about washing hands to prevent the Flu,but everyone touches the commonpurell dispensers.There is only one dispenser that I have seen that eliminates this.The wrist worn sanitizer from a small company out of Plymouth ,Michigan is worn on the wrist,is alcohol based and is rubbed on the hands without anyone touching it.The magic is in the dispenser,not the liquid content.It sells for only $5-$10 and should be worn by anyone traveling by,air,ses train or any other way.You should look at it for yourself.I have seen it in Ireland,Austria ,Turkey and Russia.I would think that the US travelers are more sophisticated and that I would see it her.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  2. Peggy Horton

    Dr. Gupta, I am in desperate need of help from you. My daughter, 34, is eight months pregnant, cannot get HiNi vaccine. She lives in Westchester County, New York and has tried every way possible to get the vaccine . The doctors and clinics there do not have it. She has made hundreds of calls, anywhere she learned that might get some, but no help. She is so scared. She has has some problems with her pregnancy in the first four months, now this. She is very suseptible to flu; was in the hospital two times last year. Can you do anything to help us?Please send me an email telling me you got this email and making any suggestions for help. Thank you, Peggy Horton

    October 28, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  3. H1N1

    The H1N1 Swine Flu vaccines cause wide-spread infertility and profound illness. If you don't want to end up barren and twitching, it is in your best interest to pass on the H1N1 vaccine.

    educate yourself on the H1N1 vaccines.

    October 7, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  4. Dr. Gil Fuld

    Here's where parents can obtain information and answers to questions about H1N1 (swine) flu and it's prevention and treatment. It's on the American Academy of Pediatrics web site.

    And as a pediatrician I'm very concerned about the misleading statistics in Dr. Gupta's 4th point. While the expected death toll from swine flu may not be any higher than that from seasonal flu, seasonal flu is most dangerous for elderly people, but swine flu is most dangerous for kids and young adults. This is the group most in need of protection with immunization.

    October 7, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  5. Dr. Gwenn O'Keeffe

    As a pediatrician, I know first hand how confusing the H1N1 situation can be. This is a topic I've spent a great deal of time talking with parents about over the last few weeks, as well as writing about and talking on TV about as well.

    As a parent, I want to do the most I can do to keep my children safe so my husband and I have decided to give them both the seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 flu shot. I have zero hesitation about doing so! We're both getting both flu shots as well, also without hesitation.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics has gathered all the latest information on H1N1 in one place, including current information on the H1N1 vaccine:

    A couple other quick points:

    *Kids under 10 will need two shots of the H1N1 vaccine given 3-4 weeks apart.
    *This year's flu season involves both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu. Each has it's own special shot and you need to get the shot for both to be fully protected during the flu season. The Seasonal Flu shot doesn't protect against H1N1 and the H1N1 flu shot doesn't protect against the Seasonal Flu.
    *Try to stay clear minded and if you find yourself falling for "hype" or feeling over whelmed by the information you are reading about or hearing about, give yourself a media break and consider calling your own pediatrician or family physician for a fact reality check.

    October 7, 2009 at 10:58 am |

    Mr. King
    Call Bill Gates & inform him there are currently
    307,609,963 citizen's in the USA. If a stimulus is what we need? He could give everyone over the age of 21....$1 million each & not even miss. That's candy bar money & he would most likely get more than that back from IRS. In fact before starting, he may want a tester, so I would more than average happy to have a cameraman follow me 24/7 to see how it effects my life??? His personal money $55 Billion Gate's would have almost have $55 Billion. Am I the only one who's thought of this? Why do those with (BILLION'S) NOT DO THIS?
    They will never ever miss the money! If I had Gates $, YES I would do this. Gates & others would also not miss it, litterely. Is this just to crazy for them to think? After the giveway Gates would still have still 55 (BILLION) Just a 37 Million less? With giving such A LITTLE away. Why not? If you included several of the state's richest people it
    would be more like a penny give away. WHY do they hold on to it when they could never even spend it without it being unless they took it all to a tall building & throw it all off. You figure it? silly they will not throw down a little chump change. Before you say it's this idea is silly due the math?? But it's silly how some have so much money they could never spend it. I'm not concerend with what the do give away but by their total fortune compared to their net worth It's maybe like a $1.00 or less! Would you give a Dollar to eliminate poverty?.....Ronnie Conrad..Augusta, GA.

    October 7, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  7. SF

    Sorry...typo....'known' to cause neurological...

    October 7, 2009 at 8:11 am |
  8. SF

    I've heard that the H1N1 vaccine is being made by companies based in Europe and that one of the ingredients in the vaccine is a compound called Squalene which has not been approved by the FDA and has been none to cause neurological and some feel it is the culprit behind Gulf War Syndrome as was an ingregient in the anthrax vaccine many soldiers received.

    Just wondering if someone with a medical background (Sanjay?) could address this.

    October 7, 2009 at 8:09 am |
  9. Sarah

    If you get the H1N1 vaccine, do you need to still get the regular flu shot? Should I get both?

    October 7, 2009 at 7:22 am |