Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu

Don't panic, just be informed. The swine flu has spread through Mexico and is believed to have killed 100 people with about 1600 infected. Now there are 20 cases confirmed in the United States and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has determined that the strains of the virus are the same. There is concern because this flu, which is usually passed by contact with animals, is now being spread person to person.

The global flu experts are not sure how dangerous the new A (H1N1) swine flu strain is. It is also unknown if this years flu shot will protect against this strain.

The swine flu presents with a fever, body aches and a cough. The U.S. cases were confirmed in California, Kansas, Texas, New York and Ohio. All the cases seem to be with someone who has traveled to Mexico or has had contact with someone who had. I have no doubt that more cases will be identified as this virus is spread.

What can you do? The usual precautions of hand washing and avoiding people with a cough are suggested. If you know someone who has recently been to Mexico, I would avoid contact.

Flu can be differentiated from a common cold because it is more severe with higher fever. Sore throat and runny nose without high fever or body aches are likely a cold. The flu knocks you flat.


Raymond Bouchayer said...

Dr. Toni , is this the same "Swine Flu" that we had years ago and the shots given for it made a lot of people very sick ?

Health Advocate said...

I have watched this over and over thru T.V news.. sad to hear that it is almost an outbreak in Mexico.. Hope it won't spread any where in the country. nurse line

tracy said...

My piggy is puking...not good.

Dr. Brayer, wise words, don't panic, stay informed.

Toni Brayer MD said...

tracy: Really a pig? I always loved those animals.

tracy said...

ummm, well, no, not really. i was kind of trying to make a joke of something not funny. However, i love piggies too! :)

Healthnut said...

Maybe, it's also not a good idea to eat pork for a while.

Toni Brayer MD said...

Healthnut: Pork is no problem and it is not transmitted that way.

Paige said...

Help Toni! My girlfriends and I are supposed to leave for Cabo San Lucas on May 14th for a birthday celebration. We really really don't want to reschedule the trip. I know there are advisories against non-essential travel to Mexico, but how much of this is paranoia/media hype and how much is real? I'm thinking we wait a week and see how this situation plays out. What you you do?

Toni Brayer MD said...

Despite the media frenzy, the flu cases have not spread throughout Mexico. That said, there may be more cases by May 14 and that might change things. I know there is a travel advisory but if it were me, I would make your trip and have a blast in Cabo, taking the usual precautions. Over the next week, I will update frequently on EverythingHealth and we can see how this epidemic goes. The influenza virus is spread by cough, droplets, hand/mouth contact so no hand shakes and lots of hand washing will help. Take alcohol hand cleansers in your purse and use on the plane and hotel. By next week the world will have a better handle on how this virus is behaving and you can plan your trip accordingly. If it turns into a full blown epidemic/pandemic you will need to reconsider. At this time the known infections are minimal.

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