An H1N1 Scare – Gone, But Not Forgotten
By Belinda Duvall
Fall is here again bringing crisp air, beautiful fall leaves, and family events. It is also the one year anniversary of my son, Luke, almost losing his life to influenza. This anniversary brings a new found concern to my family-the flu season. People rushed to get their flu vaccinations last year and were upset by the delay and shortage. I have come in contact with people who aren’t sure if they will even get their flu vaccination this year. I have heard many reasons-“Don’t like shots”, “it’s not important”, “the flu is not around”, and “I have never gotten the flu before”. I am saddened and frustrated by people’s short memory. While this flu season may not be bringing the same attention, or the same frustrations and concerns as last, the dangers of the flu have not changed.
I will never forget the very long night we spent in our local hospital before Luke was ventilated and Med flighted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Luke asked me several times, while gasping and desperate to breathe, if there was anything we could have done differently that would have changed his situation. His question haunted me for days. I felt I had failed as a mother and missed something. Days later, with tears in my eyes, I mustered up the courage to ask a nurse his question to me.
Unfortunately the H1N1 vaccination was not yet available to us when Luke became ill – it was not ready until later in the season.
As parents and grandparents, I ask that you help instill a value of health to your children. Don’t put yourself or your child at risk of contracting the flu. Don’t be lured into false security. Do not sit by the bedside of a loved one or child and know something as simple as getting your influenza vaccination could have changed your situation. Take a few minutes out of your today to get your vaccination. It could just change your tomorrow. Be proactive instead of reactive.
-Belinda Duvall is the mother of Luke Duvall – H1N1 Survivor and Every Child By Two Spokesperson. To read Luke’s chilling story of survival please visit the victim’s page of Vaccinate Your Baby.