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Swine flu, oh, what to do?

Swinebirdhumaneek! flu has hit Oregon, and after listening to reports on NPR of school closings in Texas and letting my far-too-fertile imagination run wild following the automated PPS phone call last week noting that no schools were being closed... yet, I'm wondering: will they close the schools? If so, how will we cope? We are not a city whose citizens are likely to react amicably to being advised to stay indoors, also, most of us have to go to work, which brings up that nasty issue of parental paid leave.

Has this crossed your mind? Do you think health agencies are over-reacting to the now-so-called "pandemic"? Or are you already keeping your kids away from confined spaces, Joe Biden style? Or are you like me, mama of a child whose cough has gone on for a couple of weeks (but no fever, I swear!), sure that passers-by are recoiling in horror and fear that his cough is swine flu.

In one of the NPR stories, after a student at a high school had a confirmed case of swine flu, the rest of the town began to avoid high schoolers like... well, you know. The plague. Two kids going to the gym with their dad were turned away. The idea that my kids, too, could potentially be given a wide berth in public and turned away at businesses gives me shivers.

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It crossed my mind long enough for me to wonder briefly at what point would I keep the kids home from school. The whole thing hit closer to home when a friend and I tried to take our kids to the IKEA play area this morning and it was closed "as a precautionary measure" because of swine flu. Seemed a little extreme to me at this point in time, but oh well.

I'll admit I haven't been following the CDC's scoop on this (sorry, just can't trust sensationalism on MSM). I have a nagging question though. How is this flu any different than the flu strains that come around each winter (36,000 people die each year from flu-related causes per CDC)? Is it treatable? Will they soon have a vaccine? Will you vaccinate your child if this strain isn't going away or roll the dice?

So no change in our life style. We are frequent hand washers anyway. And we will likely get the vaccine if it lingers. I am an RN up on the hill so there is potential exposure around every corner for various wondrous bugs.

I hope what doesn't get lost in this latest near pandemic is the fact that there is a Smithfield factory hog farm in LaGloria, Mexico, ie, ground zero for the swine flu. Why is a U.S. company producing pork in Mexico?!?!? What's wrong with Iowa? Oh, yeah, those dang health regulations!

Here is an alternative perspective:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/29/Swine-Flu.aspx

Seriously, I think all of the panic is completely out of control.

As explained by a doctor friend of mine, the difference between the Swine flu and regular flu that comes around every year is that with Swine flu, healthy people die from their immune system's extreme reaction to the strain. Not something to take lightly, I suppose.

Thank you, Ashack, for posting that link. I read that article a few days ago and it was very reassuring.

Consider this, where did your doctor friend get this info because of all the doc's I've chatted with up on the hill none have mentioned this and these guys are getting feeds from OHSU admin, CDC, WHO, etc. Why are so few are ending up in the hospital or dead for that matter if it is an extreme reaction and what's the reaction?

Yes, thank you, Ashack, for my new bookmarked page. I sought natural care with my hypothyroidism ten years ago after I was told by my then MD that I would be on a life time of Synthroid. After 3 months of ND tx my thyroid returned to normal function. As with many blogs the comment section can be fascinating, ie, Dr. Mercol's site. I would hesitate to say that this is only about big pharma making money as I note a large "products" page listed on Dr. Mercola's site.

I also wonder how the public would respond if the government and WHO downplayed the swine flu to an extreme. Are we a hard crowd to please?

After my comments on the previous topics of vaccines, I was hoping to refrain from commenting on this site for a while. But I feel that I must on this topic.

Just to answer a few questions, given my background and my strong interest. There are several reasons that health officials are concerned about this virus: 1) no one has received a vaccine that has protective immunity yet (this is likely change by the autumn as they are quickly working on a vaccine as we speak), 2) no one knows exactly what the mortality rate is. yes, there are numbers thrown out on numbers of deaths...but they say nothing about the RATE. using the latest numbers from the WHO website, there have been a total of 19 confirmed deaths and a total of 506 confirmed cases in Mexico...that calculates to a mortality (very crude mind you, not adjusting for anything like age, comorbid conditions, etc, but the numbers are small) of 3.75%...which is much higher than the mortality of seasonal flu which is around 20 per 100,000 (0.02%).

And one more possible point of concern:
There was some talk also that those persons that had died in Mexico were in the age range of 25-45 years. This would also be a concern, as our yearly death rate in the US is fueled largely by deaths in the elderly.
However, I have found no official presentation of the dempgraphics of these deaths on the web yet.

Why no deaths outside of Mexico? Maybe we have just not had enough people to be infected to expect a death. Maybe the overall health of persons living in Mexico City is less than that of the persons who have been well enough to travel from their home countries to Mexico.

I think that there is no need to panic, but there is cause for concern. Of course the MSM cause panic (particularly in the US)

I think that it is wrong to believe that the panic is fueled by the CDC or the WHO.

And while I want to remain respectful on this thread, I must say that I actually found the above link on mercola.com just as frightening if not more so than the stuff I read elsewhere....

I agree with Rebecca, there is real reason for concern, but not panic ... a lot is not known yet, and it is impossible to know until this plays out. And I have read the same information (from the New York Times) as "consider this," saying that it looked like healthy immune systems might be overreacting to the virus ... of course, it does look like the information out of Mexico might be changing.

I think that it does make sense for officials to try to slow the spread of the flu for two reasons ... 1) any flu will cause deaths and it is a matter of statistics that less people being sick will result in less deaths, and 2) this virus could get stronger with time (and after going through more people). It is just unknown at this time.

I think government, cdc, and the who officials are doing a good job handling this.

I've thought about it a little, but I'm not really concerned. However, we had a potluck on Sunday and as I was making my potato salad, I joked to my husband that it was the perfect time for people to be sharing food they made.

I have a 2yr-old who had RSV last year and as a result has congestion induced asthma and had pneumonia twice during the 08-09 cold/flu season. I am very concerned that he will get this virus and end up in the hospital, potentially on a respirator. What will I do when it arrives at my kindergartner's school or my or my husband's work or ____? I'm not sure. We have a pediatrician checkup on Friday and I will be chatting with her about a plan. We will definitely vaccinate when a vaccine is available.

If my son wasn't so vulnerable to this, I wouldn't be worried. I ask that those whose kids don't have vulnerabilities to think of us whose do if the virus hits your family. Thanks.

I work for a company that has an incredible staff of writers that includes doctors, scientists, researchers, etc. Last week we published an article for our customers (grocery markets) on how they can help their customers who want to stay healthy. The research came down to taking precautionary steps like you would the regular flu (wash hands, get enough rest, eat well, etc).

Those are the steps we're taking at home too. It's a good opportunity to stress hand washing with our kids without frightening them. They're talking about it at school and I want the message they hear to be: we just need to take good care of ourselves like we always should.

Here's the story if you're interested.

http://www.aisle7.net/online/newswire_2009_04_30_1.htm

@Leigh: To answer your question, one word: MONEY.

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