Tuesday, April 28, 2009
At the risk of joining the media frenzy, I want to give EverythingHealth readers an update on the Swine flu. (Scroll down for first Swine Flu post)
As of today, there are 64 confirmed cases in the United States. Mexico has confirmed 18 laboratory cases of Swine fluA H1N1 infection with more samples being tested. In response to the intensifying outbreak, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 4. A Phase 4 alert is characterized by confirmed person-to-person spread of a new influenza virus able to cause “community-level” outbreaks.”
The US cases have all been mild and there have been no deaths. It is important to remember that regular influenza, a virus, causes 36,000 deaths a year in the U.S. It is unknown if the flu shot offers any protection for this strain of Swine flu.
This flu presents like any influenza with cough, aching body, high fever and malaise. Hospitals and health clinics are geared up to do nasal swabs on people who present with flu symptoms to help identify if we are in an epidemic or not. Those patients will then be sent home with Tamiflu or Relenza to rest, drink fluids and recover.
The flu virus is effectively killed with alcohol so alcohol based gel cleansers/sanitizers should be used if you are traveling or in close contact with people (schools, nursing homes, work).
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 12:28 PM