liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Swine Flu Notes

Just a few thoughts because it keeps coming up in various discussions at school. The early statements that kids were dying of this virus because of cytokine storm are incorrect; that isn't how or why they are dying.

Those most impacted seem to have one of these pre-existing health problems:
1) chronic respiratory disease including asthma, COPD
2) diabetes
3) liver disease
4) immunological compromise including AIDS, immune suppression by steroids

Also not being reported on the media is the fact that most folks who die of the flu don't die of the virus, they die after they acquire a bacterial superinfection (usu Strep or Staph, which are ubiquitous). This points to some considerations for management of the flu.

1) If you or your child has a chronic health condition listed above, do everything in your power to lower your risk. These are about the only folks that I personally think the vaccine is appropriate for.
2) Risk management includes optimizing nutrition. These same nutrients can help you fight the flu once you have it, but better to prevent it if you can.
(adequate daily supplies of vitamins A, C, D, E, and minerals zinc and selenium)
3) Risk management includes keeping a low and stable blood sugar.
(no sweets for anyone when the flu is around!!)
4) The media is saying that you can go back to school/work one full day after your fever breaks, however a bacterial superinfection may cause a second fever, and worsening illness. Watch carefully during this period!! Scientists have determined that in 1918 there was also a pattern of superinfection causing the high mortality rate, though it's worth remembering that this flu has nowhere near the same mortality rate as the 1918 flu. Still, it is advisable to stay home more than one day after your initial fever lowers. The second round can be worse than the first, and it may not be a virus! So don't let your doctor just pump you full of antivirals: treat for bacterial as well.

PS: The antiviral drugs have very little effect in general, reducing the duration of the flu by an average of less than one day.
Tags: asthma, copd, diabetes, flu, liver, microbes, nutrition, public health, viruses

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