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What is H1N1 Immunity?

Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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H1N1 immunity refers to one’s inability to become ill in response to the H1N1, or swine flu, virus. This happens when the human body creates antibodies in response to being exposed to the virus, so that if the person comes in contact with it again, white blood cells are immediately able to fight it off before symptoms develop. Generally, this can occur in one of two ways. The first is to get an H1N1 vaccine, and the other is to contract the virus naturally and recover from it.

There are several problems with the idea of H1N1 immunity. Vaccines are created each year using the strains of the virus that researchers believe will hit the hardest, although there is no way to be certain. This happens each year with the seasonal flu, and also occurs with swine flu. The problem with this is that if the body comes in contact with a flu virus that is genetically mutated by even a relatively small amount, the vaccine does not offer adequate protection.

The 2009 H1N1 scare was caused by the fear that eventually the bug may mutate into a more deadly form of the virus. The swine flu that circulated during this period was actually found to be less deadly than the seasonal flu which hits every year. This led to controversy over who should be encouraged to obtain H1N1 immunity through vaccines.

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If one becomes infected with the virus and then comes in contact with the same virus again, the body should have natural H1N1 immunity. Much like with vaccines, however, only identical strains of the virus would be affected. If one came in contact with a mutated version, there would be little or no protection.

Some people are against the use of H1N1 vaccines, especially in the elderly and young children, until it has been more thoroughly tested. Even some health care officials have rejected the vaccine, although these people have been warned of potential implications to the health of the public for making the decision not to be vaccinated. The effectiveness and necessity of H1N1 immunity has been heavily debated since the vaccine may be ineffective if and when the virus changes.

A general rule of thumb when deciding on whether or not to obtain H1N1 immunity is to read as much as possible and make an informed decision. It is up to every individual whether or not use of the vaccine is right for them and their families. At the time of this writing, most side effects to the vaccine are mild, although some deaths and harsh reactions have been reported.

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