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Posted by: Peta | 26/03/2019

Q
Flu Vaccine

Good day Dr My 10yr old son and I caught the swine flu last year (N1H1 virus confirmed) and he was hospitalised for 3 days. I stayed with him in isolation since I already had it as well and both took the Tamiflu meds given. He has since recovered well but my question is this - he has a history of pneumonia and bronchitis, with more than 70 hospital admissions since birth, more than half due to aspiration pneumonia / bronchiolitis / bronchitis. He aspirates (Cricophayngeal inco-ordination syndrome with laryngeal incompetence) and is on a water and liquids diet - : 1.should he have a flu vaccine this year, 2 and if he had had it last year would it have prevented the swine flu? 3. Also, is the swine flu here in SA again? What are the chances of him catching swine flu again? I have been told by people that by having the flu vaccine that you are meant to be protected but just end up getting it anyway but sometimes not as badly. Others swear that each year they have the flu vaccine they get flu and when they dont have it, they dont get it. Rather than go on hearsay, I thought I would ask your opinion on it. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

EXPERT’S REPLY

Posted 03/04/2019

A
Hi there
Thank you for your question. I will definitely advise you to take him for the flu vaccination, especially if he is prone to the above-mentioned illnesses. Does he have a specialist that takes care of his lung health? There are other vaccines that are available to prevent pneumonia - if I were you, discuss this option with his specialist as well, if you have not done so already. If he had the flu vaccine last year, it might have prevented the flu, and yes, H1N1 did the rounds again last year. The problem is that flu viruses change and mutate all the time. The flu vaccine is 'updated' each year to try and keep up with the mutations so that it can cover most of the flu that is out there - but it does change all the time. So my overall answer is yes, rather take him for the flu vaccination. Good luck and I hope you have an uneventful flu season. 
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