Doctor says if you have the flu, it is likely H1N1

by Stan Morris e-mail | Twitter

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - In an interview with Region 8 News, UAMS Assistant Professor Dr. Shane Speights said if you have the flu, "there is a 99% chance it is the H1N1 Swine flu."

Dr. Speights also said it is vital that everyone get both flu vaccines this year. He says since both are different strains, you could get two cases of the flu this year: H1N1 and seasonal. He even said it was possible to get both at the same time.

The seasonal flu will not show up in force until around December, Dr. Speights says. At that point, we will know how bad the flu season really is this year.

But in a Region 8 Responds unscientific Web poll, most people (65%) said they wouldn't receive the H1N1 vaccine. Dr. Speights says many think because it was "hurried," it could have complications similar to government-rushed vaccines in the past. He says that simply isn't true and that the vaccine, which is still not widely available, was created just like the seasonal flu vaccine every year, just a few months behind.

Hence why it is a few months late.

Dr. Speights says every year, government officials from the CDC and other groups identify the viral strains that will be the big threat for the flu. In other words, "the" flu is more like "a" flu, since there are many.

This year, the H1N1 wasn't known to be spreading as fast as it has until after the yearly vaccine order had been placed, so the government had to backtrack and reorder, says Dr. Speights.

Addressing unsubstantiated rumors that the vaccine is linked to autism, Dr. Speights said that, "I will be getting the vaccine. My three children will get the vaccine. My wife will get the vaccine. If I had any concerns, I wouldn't be vaccinating my children or my wife."

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