Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fadem's Flu Shot

We had a lot of fun making this brief video, but the message is important: Patients with kidney failure and their health care workers need to minimize the spread of the flu in dialysis units. The flu is contagious, and can be deadly. Health care workers, like patients, should take the seasonal flu vaccine. This is because if we contract it, we can spread it to patients, who often because of an attenuated immune system, are at a high risk of having a complicated course and a bad outcome. Although low grade fever, aches, soreness, site redness and swelling may occur, these symptoms are self limiting, lasting only one to two days.

The flu shot is made with killed, inactivated virus, so it cannot give you the flu. The side effects of the flu far outweigh the one to two in a million chance of having a serious adverse reaction like Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Patients undergoing dialysis, as well as those who care for them, should be vaccinated to minimize the risk of the flu's consequences and spread. If you would like more information about the flu shot please contact the CDC -


The flu shot that I took in the video was the seasonal flu shot. It should start working in about two weeks. This vaccine contains the H3N2 influenze A virus, the seasonal H1N1 virus (not the 2009 Swine Flu H1N1) and a B virus. This vaccine does not protect against the H1N1 2009 swine flu. That is a different vaccine. It was just issued, and is currently available as a nasal inhalant. Right now we are not in flu season so those who develop flu-like symptoms most likely have the actual swine flu. There is an online H1N1 flu self assessment test that one can take to determine the likelihood of having the H1N1 Swine flu. Here is the best resource for swine flu: