Flu Vaccine Linked to 800 Cases of Narcolepsy in Kids

OMG 42

shotSo this flu outbreak is a serious bummer, isn't it? People are getting sick. But there's plenty of vaccines around if you know where to look, and even if they make you feel kind of crummy for a while, they seem to be working. It could be sooooo much worse. Want to hear how much worse?

Let's talk about the H1N1 ("swine flu") vaccine being used overseas. It's been tied to children getting narcolepsy. You know, that incurable sleep disorder? Around 800 kids in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe have come down with narcolepsy and doctors believe the H1N1 vaccine is to blame.

Just in case you wanted to know, narcolepsy isn't just about suddenly falling asleep at random moments. WebMD lists symptoms including excessive daytime sleepiness, sudden loss of muscle tone after laughing or a similar activity, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis, where you can't move your body for the first few minutes after you wake up. In other words, a total nightmare. Those poor kids!

More from The Stir: 5 Surprising Ways to Prevent This Year's Nasty Flu

And this is the part where those of us who are suspicious about vaccines to begin with nod our heads and say, YOU SEE? Okay, I'm not that suspicious about vaccines. My son had the whole battery of required vaccines when he was a baby and toddler. I fought my doctor on the chicken pox shot, but she won in the end. I've been holding out on the flu vaccine because we have a history of having robust immune systems and we're taking special care of ourselves. (Want to hear more about my magic chicken feet soup? No?)

Still, I feel like in a huge country like the U.S., they're not going to release a vaccine to the vast population unless they're positive it's safe. Right?!? I guess? I hope so, anyway. So what happened with this H1N1 vaccine?

Well, pharmaceutical execs there swear they're going to "get to the bottom" of this disaster. But it's kind of good to know that the European version was made with a booster called adjuvant, which is not allowed in the U.S. Meanwhile, doctors really want to figure out this narcolepsy epidemic ASAP because they're worried that people will stop getting the H1N1 vaccine, causing that flu to spread. Ah, the thrills of disease control! What a headache.

Do you ever worry about the safety of vaccines or do you think they're pretty safe?


Image via blakespot/Flickr

cold & flu, illness, swine flu


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summe... summerblue

actual information about this issue  http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/committee/topics/influenza/pandemic/h1n1_safety_assessing/narcolepsy_statement/en/index.html

nonmember avatar krelia

800 seems like a big number, but % wise, rates didn't increase much more than it has before the vaccine. It's just people finding a "link" "Oh hey we got this, clearly that's why" and making news about it.

While there are some drugs that do cause issues, this is not one of them. European CDC did a lot of tests on this very subject and didn't find a significant link between Narcolepsy and the vaccine.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

I know a teen who has narcolepsy. Coincidentally, it development the same year that she took her first flu vaccine. However, narcolepsy typically shows up during adolescence. 

jagam... jagamama0710

I feel like in a huge country like the U.S., they're not going to release a vaccine to the vast population unless they're positive it's safe. 

LOLOLOL That's a good one. Thanks for the laugh. 

regull09 regull09

Normally, I don't get into these arguments because it's like me playing chess against a pidgeon. I think, for the most part, that vaccines are relatively safe. I'd rather risk a lifetime mental disability or sleep disorder over a higher chance of my son contracting a disease that has been known to kill people for thousands of years. A lot of people argue "Well this disease hasn't had an outbreak in years" and so forth. Fact of the matter is, you can't just magically make all the viruses and bacterium that cause all these horrible diseases to just.. Disappear.. Viruses and bacterium have been around -- evolving, mutating, multiplying.. - since the beginning of time, and nothing short of the hand of God will make them go away. The chances of my son contracting these deadly diseases is much higher than the chance that he'll end up ill from the vaccines. I got influenza from my son. I'm still trying to figure out how, considering the vaccine normally prevents me from getting it. I work in health care and this is the first year I've had influenza since I was in high school. This was the mother of all influenza bugs having progressed into bronchitis and a URI, despite my increased intake of fluids, vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea and getting plenty of rest. I can't imagine how badly it would turn out if one of the residents I care for were to come down with the strain of influenza I had.

Stacy Mae Hanno

If you are going to be bold enough to "re-post" things regarding health information, have the respect to post resources to back up the information. Society needs to start making people responsible for what they post on the internet for the public's viewing. Now, for those of you who refuse to get vaccinated for the flu, I feel extremely sorry for the information that has been misinterpreted either by you or to you. People are dying this year because of the flu and a lot of them didn't get to choose to receive the vaccination or some chose not to get it and unfortunately, paid the ultimate price!

Stacy Mae Hanno

It really boils my blood that ignorant people not only post old news, but the people never provide adequate and reliable resources, they scare the public into thinking vaccinations are not safe when in fact, most vaccinations are in fact very safe and save lives on a yearly basis! Just for ONE example of a topic that has sparked much debate and has caused lots of parents to "boycott" vaccinations is the article(s) about tying autism and vaccinations. For everyone's information, this was fabricated and made up in London originally and it's very unfortunate that ignorant people have to post very misleading information on blogs and the internet in general.

Stacy Mae Hanno

United States of America, along with many other countries vaccinate their youth and elderly to aid in immunity to give the ability to fight off bacteria and certain viruses. I have many scholarly articles along with evidence based articles at my finger tips due to nursing school. Education is a WONDERFUL thing and I suggest everyone to step out of the "SOAP" box of vaccinations and look into these journals and stop focusing on what the media has to say along with non-certified people on "CafeMom"!

Stacy Mae Hanno

What toxins? UGGGHHHH!!! You people can't even back up your statesments with vaild websites!! Anyone can make a website and any resource coming from .com to me, means absolutely nothing!

UnderINK UnderINK

Vaccines should be heavily studied, of course, but summerblue is right. Sweden did what it was supposed to, investigated and pulled the vaccine. Vaccines are generally *EXTREMELY SAFE*. GET THEM. You are helping to save many innocent lives by doing so. There's definitely no link to autism, and no reason you should not be getting regular vaccinations if you have insurance or can afford it.

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