Friday, May 1, 2009

Swine Flu

Ok, I don't often rant... but sometimes media and the paranoia that they exasperate just drives me insane. Excuse me while I step up on my soap box* and put my researching fingers to good use and try to explain why although there is a reason to be aware of the swine flu and take precautions that there is no need for dire panic that the media is fueling. Rarr... Hopefully this is helpful in understanding what it is and what it certainly is NOT!

What is the Swine Flu?
First of all, I would like to point out that the media did not make my research easy on this note. You would think that for the weeks that they've been providing coverage on this subject that they would also then provide a great deal of insight into a) what it is and b) how to detect it. Only a few select articles even remotely blipped on the subject. I digress. Wikipedia however offers this article and this article. To summarize: officially what is spreading amid Mexico and the U.S. (and other countries) isn't technically "swine flu" at least not in its entirety. "Swine Flu" is actually due to a new strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1; that derives from one strain of human influenza, one strain of avian influenza, and two separate strains of swine influenza. H1N1 which the U.S. is now referring to the "Swine Flu" as is actually a decedent of the Spanish Influenza.

How it is transfered?
For the most part it seems (in my researched opinion) that it is being transferred the same way that the good ol' fashion flu is transferred. So don't make out with someone covered in snot, don't chew on some one's Kleenex, don't jump into the mist of a sneeze or a cough, and don't lick door handles... and you should be fine. (Ok and maybe also take other standard precautions like washing your hands regularly, etc.) An exact cause of ability to transfer is attributed to an as-yet unidentified mutation. Feel free to take a gamble and kiss yourself a pig though because direct pig to human contact is rare. In fact only 12 cases in the U.S. since 2005. Decent odds... what about before 2005? Oh yes, we were more concerned with REAL matters like security, and our finances! Once we started counting pig to human contraction of the pig flu that's when the economic crisis really started to get out of hand.

Signs you might have the Swine Flu?
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. The 2009 outbreak has shown an increased percentage of patients reporting diarrhea and vomiting. A diagnosis of confirmed swine flu requires laboratory testing of a respiratory sample (a simple nose and throat swab). The estimated incubation period is unknown and could range from 1-7 days, and more likely 1-4 days, according to the CDC. Also according to the CDC "Persons with swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus infection should be considered potentially contagious for up to 7 days following illness onset. Persons who continue to be ill longer than 7 days after illness onset should be considered potentially contagious until symptoms have resolved. Children, especially younger children, might be contagious for longer periods."

Result of Contracting?
PANIC!!!!!! Or not. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) this strain in most cases causes only mild symptoms and the infected person makes a full recovery without requiring medical attention and without the use of antiviral medications. No Tamiflu required! However, that doesn't mean if you're hacking up a lung that you should go jump in the ball-pit at McDonald's or share a hit off a hooka-pipe at your local oxygen bar with 7 of your closest friends. Being seen by a doctor when you're feeling especially terrible, is always wise. Swine or not.

Real reason for concern?
The true reason why there is cause for cautious concern is that due to the number of locations that the "Swine Flu" has already spread to - the concept of containment would be impossible. So like any of the previous pandemics that have plagued the globe - this is an early sign of the CHANCE that it could get out of control. WHO has raised the alert level to 5 which means "widespread human infection" because as of April 28th the "Swine Flu" was officially confirmed in 3,000 cases in 14 countries.

Perspective?
The regular ol', get a shot every year for, flu... kills annually an average of 250,000-500,000 people world wide. In this past season, the flu in the United States alone killed 36,000. Yes folks that flu that everyone dreads, gets the flu shot for, and often still is wiped out home from work or school by sometimes amid "flu season" killed 36,000 people this flu season. The Swine Flu has been confirmed in 3,000 people. Yes the number is growing and yes people are dying from it, but it isn't cause for panic the second someone sneezes next to you. It isn't even cause for panic when YOU start feeling those body aches. Be smart about it. Stay calm and don't worry. Take precautions as you would to avoid any illness. But don't wear those masks, not only are they an atrocious fashion statement they are also THE WORST thing you can do to "protect" your health. First off a virus is small enough to penetrate through those "barriers" and second hmm a wet damp mask sponge is a perfect way to prevent germs petrie dish for bacteria!

For more real information forgo the newspaper on this one! Visit these instead:

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization


* The A-Priori Mommy's soap box is not a legally binding nor an endorsed format of information and knowledge. Any information that you learn or glean from The A-Priori Mommy should not be used in place of or in counter to what a licensed medical professional has instructed. By The A-Priori Mommy ranting examining and explaining what the Swine Flu is it does not mean that it is a thorough or even exhausted understanding. Again please seek out a medical professional's opinion. Do not rely on The A-Priori Mommy's BLOG to diagnose, treat, or cure your case of Swine Flu. The A-Priori Mommy is not responsible for your issues.

7 comments:

The Blonde Duck said...

They're going nuts with it down here, in San Antonio. They've shut down several school districts and people are running around in masks. If they shut down my gym, heads will roll.

Susie Q said...

How wrong is it that so far out of all the pages I've seen covering this new "pandemic", yours is the most informative?! :D

xx

Stesha said...

They are causing sheer terror for some people. It's really insane. Today I told someone that I was sick and you can guess the question that they asked. It is so unreal. Thanks for sharing some insight on what's going on.

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

single wide cottage said...

you should hear what John Stewart has to say about the swine flue, It seems like you would agree with him. I'm surprised at the # of people who are freaking out over this, thank you mass media!

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

The media is insane! I live in an extremely large city and there have been cases here. But the makes it sound like I shouldn't leave the house...so crazy! I guess, from their perspective, there is nothing better to report. Sad, huh?

Kathy said...

thanks for visitng me and adding my button to your roll...I feel so grown up.

I agree with everything you said about the Swine Flu. Thank you for syaing it. And for saying it well.

Color Printing said...

This pandemic really has become a sensation no-thanks to media, again. Whatever happened to "no-sensationalism" practice of the journalists?
Swine flu won't come if people take precautionary actions. No need to panic and to put on that hideous mask. People need to keep themselves healthy and clean, like they always do (hopefully, they really do).