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Swine flu, vaccine and vitamins

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Results of a new survey found 44 percent of American adults believe that the 2009 swine flu pandemic is over even though health officials warned that the pandemic has not completely dissipated, according to Reuters.
 
The poll, which was taken by the Harvard School of Public Health and released Friday, also found that 40 percent of parents have gotten the swine flu vaccine for their children; another 13 percent have planned to have their kids vaccinated.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the swine flu activity report on its website saying that the swine flu activity over the last week remained the same as the prior week.
 
Hospitalization rates were similar to the ones seen in the previous week which were generally lower than they have been, but still higher than expected for this time of year.
 
No state has reported widespread swine flu activity.  Only some regional activity was reported in Alabama, Georgia, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico and Virginia.

But nine children died with swine flu with eight suffering the 2009 h1n1 flu pandemic strain and one carrying another h1n1 strain.
 
The CDC continues to reiterate that the vaccine is the best medicine to prevent the flu and recommends all Americans receive the swine flu vaccine. 
 
Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC was cited as saying that 70 million Americans have been vaccinated against swine flu or H1N1 virus and that the government has a stockpile of 155 million shots that remain unused; another 229 million have been ordered from five drug makers.
 
At this point, the majority of Americans don't think they need the swine flu vaccine as the virus proves to be wild and rarely causes harm in healthy individuals, even though elderly people are at higher risk of dying from the infection.
 
A health observer suggested that those who do not want vaccine may cosider taking high doses of vitamin C and D to help boost their immune system to prevent swine flu and other types of flu.
 
It's well known that vitamin C enhances immunity against influenza.  One Japanese study published in the Oct 2008 issue of International Journal of Molecular Medicine suggested that vitamin C, particularly an oxidation product of the vitamin called Dehydroascorbic acid, is effective against influenza virus type A.
 
Ey J.T. from the University of Washington also published an article in July 2007 in the Experimental Biology and Medicine saying that proper use of ascorbic acid could provide effective containment for the flu pandemic.
 
The effectiveness of vitamin D against swine flu has been observed by two physicians, one in Wisconsin and the other in Georgia who found that people using high doses of vitamin D rarely got infected with swine flu or other flu compared to those who did not take vitamin D supplements.
 
The health observer said even those who have gotten the swine flu vaccine would be better off taking vitamin C and D supplements, as the h1n1 vaccine is not effective in 100 percent of recipients and these two vitamins are safe to use even at high doses, a few grams a day for vitamin C and 4000 to 6000 IUs a day for vitamin D.

David Liu and editing by Rachel Stockton

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