This swine flu epidemic...it's all over the media and in all the "Special News Reports". How scared should we really be?
According to the World Health Organization, to date 11 countries have reported a total of 257 cases of the influenza A (H1N1) infection and of those 257 cases 109 were reported by the United States Government. There has been one reported death due to Swine Flu in the US and 7 in Mexico.
To give you some perspective, according to Al Jazeera English, a 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel located in Doha, the capital of Qatar[the world's first global English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East], the seasonal flu kills between 250,000 and 500,000 each year around the world.
- So what is Swine Flu? It is a type A influenza virus that is present in pigs. Human infection is rare but is most likely to occur in people who work and live closely with pigs.
- Why are people so scared? The new strain is a hybrid of swine, human and avian flu viruses and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it can spread from human to human but the level of virulence is not yet clear.
- What are the symptoms we should look for? They are similar to that of the common flu virus and included: fever and chills, a cough, sore throat, aching limbs, headaches, and general fatigue.
- How do I know if my child might be coming down with it? Watch them carefully. If your child is being lethargic, and acting irritable (Well, I mean more so than usual!), having flu-like symptoms, is experiencing a fever, rash, cough, and is not wanting to drink anything then they may have Swine Flu and you should take them to their health care provider immediately.
- What can/are doctors doing to treat Swine Flu? Although there is no vaccine, there are two antiviral drugs that are proving effective in the treatment of Swine Flu: Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza)
- The question we are all asking...How can we prevent Swine Flu? WASH YOUR HANDS, use antibacterial hand sanitizer often, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritiously, basically, keep yourself in good general health. Try your best to avoid touching surfaces that are touched by many people a day. IE-Bathroom doors, keyboards, telephones, ect. And of course, avoid close contact with people that might be sick.
Anyway, these are my thoughts on the issue. Take them for what they are.
You may look to the bottom of my blog and there you will find a H1N1 Swine Flu Heat Map.