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IF flu vaccinated, can you still be a carrier?

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Oluv Posted: 10-07-2009 5:11 PM
I'm trying to figure this out. If you get the flu vaccine, does that prevent you from being a carrier of the virus to others as well as perventing your self from getting sick? OR does the vaccine just help your self from getting sick? Anyone?

I'm scheduled to be induced Oct 13th and I have requested all my hospital visitors to be vaccinated before coming to see me and the baby. Maybe I'm a crazy new mom, but I won't relax unless I request this.
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TenthMuse replied on 10-07-2009 5:36 PM
Anyone can literally "carry" germs (including the flu) around on their hands, face, etc. Unless you can guarantee that none of those vaccinated people have touched any doors, elevator buttons, counter tops, etc in the hospital in their way up to see you, NOR have they been coughed or sneezed on in the last few hours, their vaccinations aren't really going to matter.

Also, flu vaccination doesn't keep them from carrying around cold viruses, sinus infection germs, strep throat germs, e-coli, pneumonia, bronchitis, and other random things even though they may be feeling "fine". Also remember that some of these are active in one's body and shedding for a day or two before s/he is even symptomatic.

So all the nurses' and doctors' entire families, along with all the family members of anyone else who is visiting on the floor would have to be vaccinated as well, by your germ-carrying standard. Make sure the person who punched the buttons on the vending machine before DH doesn't hadn't recently sneezed or coughed on HER hands.

Really, it's an impossible game to play. You do the best you can. There are germs, and while flu (and maybe especially this season's H1N1) can be scary, there are other scary things, too.

I'm not sure about the flu vax requirement for visitors.....for one, you should know that nearly all the confirmed cases of the "flu" in this country right now are H1N1, NOT "seasonal flu". The H1N1 shot is generally not available yet (or not until TODAY in some places) and immunity takes a while (maybe someone can speak to how long?) and you are due in a week. The seasonal flu vaccine does NOT protect against the H1N1, which is the one I assume you're concerned about.
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Oluv replied on 10-07-2009 8:50 PM
well I realize the H1N1 is not avaliable. I was just generalizing them both into one in that I wanted visitors to get whatever was out there. I am also thinking about the future when my same visitors come to my home to babysit and see the baby. I realize only washing your hands and taking the other standard precautions is going to be the what really helps, BUT the vaccine does help people from getting sick which in turns helps them on a different level to not spread the virus. I think that is what I was getting at, but thanks for making me feel crazy with the tone of your response.
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TenthMuse replied on 10-07-2009 9:04 PM
I am sorry that you felt my tone was unsavory.

You asked a question and I tried to be very clear.

I really feel very resigned about it, not angry or trying to "make you feel crazy." I know that I will do the very best to protect my child, but I am resigned to the fact that there are germs and people carry them. I am also resigned to the fact that vaccines don't cover everything, and that many (MANY) people out there are opposed to vaccination for one reason or another.

Again, I apologize if my post sounded other than you would have preferred, but the tone was meant to inform and to convey my own resignation (the futility of trying to protect our children from EVERY germ) on this issue, as well.

Health and wellness to you and your new family.
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Sheryl replied on 10-08-2009 7:27 AM
The nose vaccination as well has live but decreased strength H1N1 flu viruses in it, which can be shed by the person who got it for a few weeks... so I have read.

I would think if you're concerned the best thing to do is limit visitors at the start to give the baby a safe protected environment in the first weeks of life. I know many that do that by standard (just for family bonding) before the insanity of everyone you know wanting to visit starts!
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tortuga replied on 10-08-2009 7:57 AM
I know tenthmuse was just trying to inform and she wasn't saying anything remotely off base.

I think the salient point here is that yes, you can get the flu from someone who has had the flu shot for a number of reasons: they may have had contact with the virus coming in and transmit to you, they may have not built immunity to the virus in time (I think it takes *at least* a week after the vaccine), the vaccine might just not work for them (it isn't 100% effective), the flu virus might mutate and the vaccine could become less effective or ineffective. And you can get lots of other things too.

The big danger is allowing the vaccine to give you a false sense of security. If you are very worried about transmission of disease to your newborn infant, you should act as though *everyone* does have the flu and use the appropriate precautions. Allow no visitors to the hospital for starters. And when you are home, insist on minimal visitation during the winter season and substation precautions (hand washing, masks, whatever.) This is what people do who have preemies or otherwise immunocompromised infants.

Personally, there is no way I could retain my own sanity and do the above with a healthy infant, but everyone has a different threshold for their fear of illness vs. lifestyle changes. Figure out what makes you feel comfortable and go with it.

So to answer your original question, no you should not assume that insisting upon the flu shot for your visitors will ensure that they will not carry the flu to you or your baby.

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Oluv replied on 10-08-2009 8:18 AM
Thank ladies! Smile You've all been very helpful. Tenthmuse, I know you are trying to help. I DID post the question. I think I'm just so sensitive right now and worried as new mom.

I did go ahead and ask family/friends coming to the hospital to get vaccinated. I should have been more clear in my question. I realize that if I am vaccinated and touch a door that has the flu germ on it, I can then touch someone and give it to them. I guess I meant would my own "sneezing" (for lack of a better example) infect someone if I had had the vaccine. I realize the vaccine isn't 100% and there is no guarantee of anything. I also know that all the people (which isn't many) visitng me in the hospital will also be babysitting for me and I don't want them getting sick this season and having to tell them they can't come over. I will definitely heed the advice to limit visitors at home until I feel like she's had a good dose of my *** milk antibodies. I have also increased my healthy food intake and I'm trying super hard not to give into my "sweet tooth" and eat a more vitamin rich diet to help my breastmilk give our little what she needs. Smile

Again, I greatly appreciate everyone's input and sorry for being so sensitive. It's been a tough pregnancy with a large fibroid (almost lost her), getting the whooping cough, and being VERY anemic.

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phdmomtn replied on 10-08-2009 10:06 AM
There are some things you can control, and some things you can't. Do your best, and then try not to worry about what you can't control. It's so hard to enjoy a pregnancy during this time, isn't it, with all of these worries? I wish the best for you and hope that everything turns out okay.


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tortuga replied on 10-08-2009 12:24 PM
Just because you mentioned whooping cough (pertussis):

There is currently a push to vaccinate adults for pertussis (dtap) which I do not think is a waste of time. Pertussis went around here two years ago and it is generally transmitted from infected adults (for whom the vaccine has worn off) to children. I actually got pertussis last year from an infected child and was very fortunate that neither of my kids got it. If I were going to insist on a flu shot for people who are going to be in close contact with the baby, I would similarly insist on a dtap also, especially if pertussis is in your area. I know around here, when adults go to get tetanus boosters, dr's are now giving them dtap in order to cover pertussis as well.
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Oluv replied on 10-08-2009 9:35 PM
Hey Totuga,
Yes, I completely agree with the TDAP vaccine as well. Most of my family has already updated themselves with that shot. They did it after they found out I had the cough. It was the most absolute horrible thing to have while pregnant. The progectile vomit from coughing was terrible. luckly, from what we can tell I gave it to no one. I believe I got it while staying with my mom in the hospital for a shoulder surgery she had. I was 27 weeks then. I should have known better. She's having the other shoulder done before christmas, but I'm not going to the hospital with her. Another family member is. Anyway, thanks for pointing out the TDAP also. It is very important.
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