Controversy about the H1N1 vaccination has arisen recently, specifically regarding several people in Canada who have had allergic reactions to the shot.

Although there are some typical side effects to the flu shot, including muscle aches and congestion, the chances of contracting a serious disease are low, says Maureen Pinkett, a registered nurse at Health Services at Laurier Brantford.

Pinkett says that even getting a tetanus shot carries a risk of contracting illnesses such as Guillain–Barré syndrome, which causes muscle paralysis. The good outweighs the bad in this case; Pinkett says that it’s important to get the flu shot to prevent further spread of the flu. The chances of getting Guillain–Barré syndrome are incredibly slim.

Swine flu has been subjected to plenty of bad press, but Pinkett says that it’s good for the public to get informed about the outbreak.
“The media blows [swine flu] out of proportion until one of your friends dies,” she said.

Pinkett urges students to book a time to get vaccinated through the Brant County Health Unit website (http://www.bchu.org/). People under the age of 65, especially young, healthy women, are susceptible to swine flu.

Regular seasonal flu shots will be available near the end of December. Pinkett says that the school has already been hit by two waves of the H1N1 virus, and it’s unclear whether there will be another round. For now, students should focus on booking their H1N1 shots and staying home if they are sick.

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