Above, you see one of our team medics giving me the H1N1 flu vaccination. (No, I didn’t cry.)
You may remember me talking about Taj’s recent bout with the flu. He’s doing okay now. (But, for a while there, I was worried.)
You may think that H1N1 wouldn’t affect us, since we’re so far away and the ‘stan is so (relatively) isolated. Not true. there are THOUSANDS of coalition troops in the ‘stan. And, along with them, people are constantly coming, or constantly leaving. So, the possibility exists that we’re vulnerable.
That new troop that just stepped off the plane may have been sitting next to an infected person in a Los Angeles movie theater a couple of days ago. Or, maybe that troop that contracted it from his girlfriend is about to travel to Kabul, where he’ll pass it along to someone else. It’s a difficult thing to track.
Rumor has it that there have been a few cases of swine flu reported here in the ‘stan. In fact, Kabul closed it’s schools for a few weeks when they believed a person was infected.
Even though we just received our regular flu shots a couple of months ago, we all lined up again to get the H1N1 vaccine. Although the vaccine is in short supply, I think the military has priority in order to continue it’s mission abroad. I was worried I might get sick, but I didn’t.
While I was getting the shot, our team medic was telling me that media hype really drives a lot of the panic that people have about the swine flu. She says that we should remember that LOTS of people die from the regular flu (not specifically swine flu,) so we shouldn’t focus solely on it just because it has a funny name. And, like the regular flu, the swine flu will only be harmful to people with weak immune systems (children, sick, elderly, etc.)
But, for the rest of us, swine flu is just the regular flu with a good publicist!