Thursday, November 5, 2009

Woman Suffers Severe Reaction To H1N1 Mist

Woman Suffers Severe Reaction To H1N1 Mist

POSTED: 7:26 am PDT October 21, 2009
UPDATED: 8:46 am PDT October 21, 2009

MILWAUKIE, Ore. -- An Oregon woman said she suffered a severe reaction to the H1N1 flu mist vaccine and required a five-day stint in the hospital to recover.

Trista McGarity said Tuesday that her airflow was cut off just minutes after receiving the mist at a free clinic. She said she experienced "severe anaphylactic shock."

"My chest got really tight," she said. "I felt like I couldn't breath."

McGarity stayed in two area hospitals for five days so she could be treated for the reaction, which surprised some doctors.

"Quite a few of them told me I was the first person they had seen with such a strong allergic reaction to it," she said.

McGarity has not had an allergic reaction to a flu vaccine before and she is not allergic to eggs, which are both common questions asked to potential vaccine recipients. She questions whether enough research has been completed for the vaccine.

"H1N1 has come on fairly strong and they're pushing this vaccine," she said. "Have they had time to test it? Do they really know its effects on people?"

Oregon public health officials and doctors have been monitoring the H1N1 situation in Oregon. While chances are low, they said, a severe reaction is possible.

"Essentially (there's) a two in a million chance of having what's called immediate hypersensitivity reaction in which you can have swelling of the lips and face and basically blocking the airway," said Dr. Ann Thomas, a public health physician. "And people get respiratory distress."

While health officials recognize the concerns over who should receive the vaccine and possible reactions, there are signs that the flu is hitting Oregon.

"It's always concerning when there's a reaction, but you have to weigh the very real problems of the H1N1 strand of influenza," Thomas said. "We've had over 200 hospitalizations since the beginning of September."

McGarity said she wants others to take caution when receiving the vaccine.

"I think it's very important that people know to check into it and not just get it because it's offered," she said.

State health officials said the H1N1 vaccine passes the same safety checks as any other vaccine. While they don't expect complications, they're tracking all reports concerning the vaccine.

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