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Are You Worried About the H1N1, or Swine Flu, Virus?

5/8/2009 12:30:45 PM

Tags: Swine flu, H1N1, CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, question to readers

For the last several days, the media and blogosphere have been discussing almost nonstop the recent H1N1 flu virus outbreak (or "swine flu," as it's previously been called). If you're following the news, you've probably heard the numbers: As of May 8, 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed H1N1 in 43 states, for a total of 1,639 U.S. cases, including two deaths. Worldwide (including U.S. numbers), the World Health Organization has confirmed 2,500 cases in 25 countries, including 44 deaths in Mexico.

According to CDC's acting director, Richard E. Bresser, MD, in the New York Times, "About 5 percent of the people with confirmed cases have been hospitalized [including 35 of the 1,639 U.S. cases]. That is a much higher proportion than normal for seasonal flu, and the median age is 15, which is unusually young. But because some states are now testing only seriously ill patients for the novel virus, such skewing of the data is to be expected."

The responses to the outbreak so far have been varied. Early on, Egypt ordered the slaughter of its 300,000 to 350,000 pigs — though no cases of the virus had been reported in the country at that time. In New York and other states, schools issued temporary closings after students were confirmed to have caught the virus. In other cases, travelers have cancelled vacations, either after hearing of cases at their destination, or to avoid possible exposure from other travelers en route. As a general precaution, the CDC has posted a quick list of tips for staying well:

"What You Can Do to Stay Healthy

1. Stay informed. The [CDC] website will be updated regularly as information becomes available.

2. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

3. Take everyday actions to stay healthy. 

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

4. Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.

5. Find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.

6. Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information."

The CDC also has posted general information about H1N1flu updates; safety information for specific groups, such as pregnant womenchild care providers and others; and more.

How worried are you about H1N1? Are you and your family doing anything differently in response to the outbreak?



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Post a comment below.

 

CE ESCALANTE
5/12/2009 4:43:09 PM
i'm not really too worried because i'm a believer in natural healing and the powers of herbs and essential oils and my family has a pretty good stock of pure essential oils that are antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiseptic. we're trying to be careful about washing our hands and things like that, but we also have to trust the Lord that He provides what we'll need to stay safe.

George Works
5/11/2009 8:02:19 AM
My wife and I live on a tiny Caribbean island with limited health care facilities. Most people here are poor and will go to work even when they feel sick because they need the money. They are also quite religious and will go to church, sick or well. We expect that H1N1 will eventually come here, and if predictions are correct we each have about a 30% chance of getting it. However, the death rate seems to be no worse than normal seasonal flu so we are not worried. We have a good supply of quality masks that we will wear after the flu arrives when we must go out. We garden and raise goats, cows and chickens so we already wash our hands frequently. We stock some antibiotics that might help against complications like bacterial pneumonia, but alas no Tamiflu. Possibly our island government will see fit to get some.

MC_2
5/9/2009 3:57:50 PM
It would be nice if people would chill out maybe a little bit. Right now this flu is not a big deal, but it could serve as a really handy wake-up call. Be considerate of others-- cover your mouth with *something* when you cough. The elbow thing really does work, but I'll be happy if you just take the bother to try. Stay home if you're sick-- here in America anyway, we're all way too close to being corporate drones anyway, and it's high time we told them we won't do it any more. You should have been washing your hands often anyway-- when you come into your house, before you leave a public place, before you prepare food, when you change major jobs around the house, after using the bathroom (or cleaning up after kids/pets), and any time good sense tells you they're dirty. Please don't panic. If you're that scared, learn more about being ready for a major pandemic (or any other emergency). A prepared populace makes these things far less worse; panic tends to exacerbate already dangerous situations (and to create dangerous situations where they did not previously exist). And the CAFO thing. Look-- they're a bad idea. They've always been a bad idea. They're always going to be a bad idea. You can't even legislate or regulate the badness out of the idea. It's an inherently, fundamentally, completely bad idea. Unfortunately, it's also a bad idea that we've become dependent on. We've built our lifestyles and spending habits in such a way that the great majority of us need them to put meat on the table. Me included-- I'm trying to adjust both our spending and dietary habits. It's a slow process, especially living with someone who was raised on and prefers meals built around meat. Anyway, point being, we are going to have to deal with the dependence-- not just condemn it-- if we expect to solve the problem.

Rosanna Marcum
5/9/2009 2:14:38 PM
I have been following H1N1 on the CDC website and I'm not paranoid about it, but I have been paying closer attention to having my children wash their hands and so forth. My concern is if the virus evolves this fall into a deadlier strain. This strain of flu seems to have some of the characteristics the CDC has been worried about the avian flu strain doing. I feel it is important for a family or individual to have an emergency plan and items prepared ahead of time. Not just for the flu, but for other natural disasters also. Too many people I talk to just take the attitude it will all be ok. That's fine, but I'd rather prepare for the worst and pray for the best to happen.

Melanie Bennett
5/8/2009 8:48:35 PM
Here's a simple thing we all can do to stop the spread of viruses, colds, flus. Cough and sneeze into your elbow! Why? Unlike the hand, the elbow does not touch much. Unlike a tissue, the elbow is always available. Do an internet search on COUGH INTO YOUR ELBOW. PLEASE do not cough or sneeze into your hands. A simple change of habit that can result in less germs and viruses being spread. I found a video that does a good job of explaining how viruses and germs are spread. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56mq1t1BqfY










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