You know, it’s not a manual we need when kids are born. Seriously, what would it say? Put food in one end and diapers on the other? Keep away from sharp objects? Great. Whatever.
No, what kids should come with is a crystal ball. So that you know what to do, what road to take, what decisions to make.
Take, for instance, this issue of the Swine Flu (N1H1) vaccine.
I have two little girls who suffer from asthma. Now granted, it is comparatively mild asthma. It’s well controlled with medication. We’ve never had to dash to the ER in the dead of the night. They get sick, we nebulize, they recover. End of story.
Except that their asthma trigger is being sick. And the flu is one of those things that could potentially really affect them. So every year I dutifully get them flu shots. And last year when M got the flu we pro-actively handed out Tamiflu like it was candy. (To be fair Little L also got sick and tested positive for the flu. Just so you don’t think we were being flippant or playing lose with a very serious drug.)
Both girls got their regular flu shots three weeks ago and I was being a good little mommy to little girls with compromised respiratory systems and I eagerly awaiting for the call to say that the N1H1 vaccine was ready and available.
Which it is. Only now I’m on the fence about having the girls take it.
It all started when my sister, a nurse at a very reputable hospital, told my other sister to not get it for her kids. Her coworkers are upset that they are being forced to take an unsafe drug that hasn’t been tested enough.
Which is all fine and dandy, but doesn’t that leave us with a “which danger is greater?” conundrum? Possible side effects and illness from a drug that isn’t ready vs. possible illness or death from a virus.
I jumped online to do a little more research.
Here are the facts that I gathered.
Right now H1N1 is relatively mild. The fear stems from the fact that it might, at some point, mutate into something quite potentially deadly and scary. It also stems from the fact that it doesn’t seem to affect the population that is usually affected by the flu – essentially anyone over the age of 40. And from the fact that people with compromised respiratory systems seem to be especially affected.
What do we make of that?
Well, presumably the fact that the older crowd is not affected is because they carry antibodies from being exposed to the Swine flu back in 1976.
If that’s the case, then it might be a good idea to let ourselves be exposed to this mild Swine flu so that we might have the necessary antibodies in case the flu mutates as predicted and turns deadly.
Which makes amazing sense until you throw in the compromised respiratory system thing. Because that’s what the girls have.
I really, really want to adhere to the belief that a little exposure to germs is a good thing. Especially if we know of great medicine that can heal the illnesses caused by those germs. I really, really want to listen to the people who say that the vaccine isn’t ready, it isn’t safe. But I also have to do the right thing by my children. Can I in all good conscience keep them from a vaccine that could potentially save their lives?
Which risk is the right risk?
And where’s my damn crystal ball?