Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu

Since we're always the last ones to hear the news, I'm assuming you've all heard about this. For those of you who watch Lost, I'm sure you saw the news of "confirmed cases" in Spokane flash across the top of the screen. This morning on the radio they were saying that hundreds of schools across the country have closed for the day, and school sports have been postponed due to worry of the swine flu (all this as I was dropping Kelsi off at school). So naturally, I start panicking. After all, Matthias has been sick. Then I remembered Dave's Ramsey's Town Hall for Hope. Completely unrelated subject matter, but one of the main things he talked about was the media causing panic. How the media has only been reporting the doom and gloom and not the facts. Most of the rest was sharing these facts to clarify the state of the recession. Naturally, I started wondering if the media was doing the same thing with the swine flu. So I came home and researched. Here's some of what I found:

"Between 2005 until January 2009, 12 human cases of swine flu were detected in the U.S. with no deaths occurring. However, swine flu infection can be serious. In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman in Wisconsin was hospitalized for pneumonia after being infected with swine flu and died 8 days later. A swine flu outbreak in Fort Dix, New Jersey occurred in 1976 that caused more than 200 cases with serious illness in several people and one death." CDC

"To keep this in perspective, though, every flu outbreak causes deaths, even in the US. The CDC told the media yesterday that 36,000 people die in the US each year from flu-related illnesses...To put it in perspective, the
CDC’s 2001 statistics showed 10,800 deaths from alcohol-related traffic accidents — and almost 6,000 alcohol-related homicides." Hot Air

"In addition to the 160 deaths, the virus is believed to have sickened 2,498 people across Mexico. But only 1,311 suspected swine flu patients remained hospitalized, and a closer look at daily admissions and deaths at Mexico's
public hospitals suggests the outbreak may have peaked during three grim days last week when thousands of people complained of flu symptoms...The deaths were already leveling off by the time Mexico announced the epidemic April 23. At hospitals Wednesday, lines of anxious citizens seeking care for flu symptoms dwindled markedly...Cordova has suggested the virus can be beaten if caught quickly and treated properly. But it was neither caught quickly nor treated properly in the early days in Mexico, which lacked the capacity to identify the virus, and whose health care system has become the target of widespread anger and distrust." Yahoo News

CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses...If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms). CDC

Ok, so to sum it up.... the last death in the US from the swine flu was in 1988, a woman who also had pneumonia. 36,000 people die every year in the US alone from the regular old flu. The people in Mexico who died likely died from lack of proper medical care, and the outbreak as already subsided. Medication is shown to help and prevent complications.
My conlusion...something to keep an eye out for? Probably. Something to panic about? Not likely. It seems as though the country is just in a panic. Granted, the death of a toddler due to the swine flu is tragic, but probably not enough to justify the President telling the country they should shut down schools. But, well, this post is long enough without ranting about what the President says.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

new template again?? well, i like it! and i totally agree about the swine flu - same thing happened to us last night watching lost so i looked it up. one thing i read was that the toddler had been traveling to texas from mexico city when he died. also that most americans who have gotten it don't even require hospitalization!! but who doesn't freak out at the word "pandemic"??? :-)