Friday, April 24, 2009

Swine Flu Outbreak

Hello my beautiful sisters....

Some of you might know that one of my hobbies is epidemiology. I have worked on some publications, etc. I have been studying the tracks of various flu outbreaks for years.

Foxnews.com had mentioned some children hit with a swine flu in California. They recovered, as did their families. When I went to one of my "go to" sites for influenza information, I found that this swine flu is new, is hitting Mexico, Mexico City has closed schools, libraries, theaters, etc.

Because this is a new virus, this year's vaccination may or may not offer any protection at all. One of the eight people who have gotten this in the US was vaccinated. The CDC has said not to consider that last fall's vaccinations protective.

The two states that this has been found in have been Texas and California. However, I listened to a CDC conference call today in which health care providers were told that there will certainly be more. This is transmitting human to human, not through birds or pigs.

The CDC is standing up their emergency operation centers. The WHO is involved and Obama has been briefed.

Now, understand that this is a serious situation, but not a dire one. It would seem that this is circulating through the US, Mexico, and some in Canada (though mostly from travelers from Mexico to Canada). Most people seem to be recovering well enough, though some have died in Mexico and have had to be hospitalized in the US and Canada.

The reason this flu is causing such concern is that it is a new strain (with swine, avian, and human flu genes), it is taking place NOT in the middle of flu season, but at the end, has been pretty severe, causing higher rates of death in ages that are usually pretty safe (20-45 year olds) and it is transmitting pretty easily. These are signs that this is not "normal flu" and must be treated with respect.

What can you do? I would recommend having enough supplies in your house of water, food, bleach, medications, soaps, etc so that you do not have to go out if this arrives in your area. If you can duck for a couple of weeks, you might save your family some serious illness. I would keep an eye on the news or on some of the medical websites (cdc, pfi, promed, who).

If you or your loved ones get influenza (high fever, body aches, cough, EXTREME tiredness, etc) call your doctor. Some patients have also had diarrhea, vomitting and nausea, and it seems that there are also times where the patient has severely bloodshot eyes. Ask your doctor if this needs to be reported, especially if you live in the SW US. Understand that, with air travel, this can be anywhere at any time. One of the children who was sick was put on a plane a few days after he started showing symptoms...meaning he was probably still contagious. The CDC has been in contact with people sitting around him.

PLEASE people, for the love of pete, STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK. If you have the flu, especially, stay home until you are ACTUALLY WELL, not just until you can stand without fainting or whatever. It is not nice to make other people sick. The world will not end if you spend extra time in bed!!! If you MUST go out (and really, unless it is an emergency, you shouldnt) consider wearing a mask. Yes, it might look funny, but it is better than accidentally infecting a pregnant woman, a child, someone undergoing chemo, or a baby. Wash your hands constantly, use hand sanitizer constantly. Cough into your sleeve, not your hand!

I think we all sometimes get tempted to go out when we are sick. It is almost like we think "Well, we have it" so we do not worry about giving it to others. I have seen far too many people go to church out of obligation when they are sick. Stay home. Seriously.

Keep your kids at home if they are sick. Even if they are "getting better" that does not mean they are "well". Schools are amplification points for germs.

Please email if you have any questions. This situation is newly evolving, with the biggest changes and news points happening in the last few hours. We might find that this is merely a blip on the screen and becomes nothing at all. We might find that this is the first wave of a very serious length of time where all families are touched with illness. We cannot know for sure until more time passes, so until then, prepare your households as much as you can and keep washing those hands!

God bless you all!

1 comment:

Little Ducks said...

You are so helpful and informative. Your timely article is making me very worried about my trip to Texas via Air. I need to go stock up on purell.

Thanks for the info!

: )