Swine Flu: Epidemic on Our Hands?

Duct Tape. Save Yourselves! The End is Near!

Duct Tape. Save Yourselves! The End is Near!

I’m almost glad that I will be having some time off in the coming days because with all of the insanity regarding the swine flu racing through Mexico City, and now in certain parts of the US. News reports thus far have done what they have become exceedingly good at in recent years – scaring people. Remember duct taping your windows in case of a nuclear strike? Probably about as effective as hiding under your desk (what they officially taught the last generation to do in case of a nuclear strike). So what do I expect will happen?

Starting soon – in a city near you – ER’s will start getting loads of visits from people suspecting they have swine flu (had our first one already today). What are the symptoms you might ask? Same as any other kind of flu – fever, cough, fatigue, body aches, nausea/vomiting, lack of appetite, etc.  Pretty vague right? But there must be a way to get tested right?

Yes, there is a test. Whew, you must be thinking! But, the test needs to be done at a public health lab. So, in other words, it might take a while to get results. But there must be something I can do right?

Sure, if you notice these vague symptoms and get to your doctor within 48 hours of the onset of your symptoms, then you can get antivirals. “What are antivirals?”, you may ask. They are very expensive medications produced in very limited quantities that have totally variable rates of success. What does that mean? It means good luck.  Beyond that, only two out of the four available class of antivirals “seem to be effective” per the CDC. So what happens then if you get to your pharmacy and they’re out of Tamiflu or Relenza (the two that “seem” to work)? If you can’t get it within the first 48 hours then its not worth taking. But you’re not dead yet.

The CDC recommends routine precautions to prevent the spread of infectious diseases: “wash your hands often, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid close contact with sick people. If you are sick, stay at home and limit contact with others”.  So, I’m following their advice and staying away from sick people by not working until this fear campaign takes a rest.

The thing that really bothers me though is scaring people over something when there aren’t reasonable options for reassurance.  The last thing I want to see is a run on ER’s and people who are minimally ill, but maximally worried, depleting whatever supplies of antiviral are available (even if doesn’t work so effictively) so that later waves of possibly sicker people will not be able to get treatment.

I also hate seeing people get worried over something which in many cases is no different than getting Influenza. Influenze kills lots of people every year – approximately 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations are directly associated with influenza every year in America according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t change my lifestyle or schedule because of Influenza. Do we really need to change our lives because of the Swine Flu?

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7 Responses to Swine Flu: Epidemic on Our Hands?

  1. Tex says:

    Bird Flu and Swine Flu?

    You bet….when pigs fly!

    People…it’s a virus
    Treat the symptoms, don’t spread it, stay home.

    Oh yeah, and don’t get intimate with pigs.

  2. Sabra says:

    They have closed the high school where three students contracted the swine flu in Boerne. (These are the cases you might hear as being in San Antonio. They are not.) Guadalupe county is also asking that public gatherings be postponed. The school will be closed at least a week. The newspaper noted with some sadness that Bexar County was not being asked to do the same. If my city of over a million people (over 2 million in the “metro area”) gets shut down because of this tripe, I’m gonna be pissed.

    The afternoon talk host on KTSA, Friday, was going off on this. How do you know you have it? Is there a test for it? I really should have called in and said “Dude, it’s the flu! Treat it like it’s, you know, the flu.”

  3. maha says:

    I was in Toronto during SARS and as long as swine flu isn’t like that, I don’t really care (and by i don’t care, i mean follow routine precautions).

  4. TUNDE says:

    WELL I GUESS IN A WAY WE DO HAVE TO EXECERSIZE SOME CAUTION. THEY HAVE MORE AND MORE CONFIRMED CASES HERE IN THE USA TOO. IT CERTAINLY DOESN’T MEAN THAT WE HAVE TO RUN AROUND WITH SURGICAL MASK… WHICH BY THE WAT DOESN’T DO ANYTHING. I-95 MASK IS MORE APPROPRIATE FOR AIRBORNE BUGS, AND PEOPLE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW IT. THAT IS WHAT GETS ME, WHEN THEY TELL YOU ALL THE PRECAUTION HOW PEOPLE ARE WALKING IN THE STREETS OF MEXICO WITH THAT LAME MASK THEY PROVIDING FOR THEM, AND THE ONLY THING THAT MASK IS GOOD FOR ,MAKING YOUR EARS SORE LOL.

    DID YOU SEE THE SOCCER GAME YESTERDAY I MEXICO?….. THE STADIUM WAS EMPTY EXCEPT THE PLAYERS AND ONLY 1 FAN. THAT SHOWS HOW SCARED PEOPLE ARE.

    GOD CLEANSE THE EARTH TIME TO TIME …WAR EPIDEMICS PANDEMICS… MAYBE IT IS TIME FOR SPRING CLEANING AGAIN?

    JUST BE CAREFUL OUT THERE PEOPLE

  5. Very nice information. Thanks for this.

  6. Eteldtesfef says:

    Through you for details. It helped me in my assignment

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