Swine flu - should we be worried?
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Thread: Swine flu - should we be worried?

  1. #1
    Registered User Exalted Member Fireand'chutes77's Avatar
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    Swine flu - should we be worried?

    The news is buzzing with reports of a new type of flu, a combination of pig, bird, and human strains, that originated in Mexico that humans have no immunity to. There have been 80 some deaths in Mexico and several thousand cases, 20 cases reported in the US (but no fatalities so far), and several cases in New Zealand and Canada.

    The news, of course, seems to be blowing this up into a huge end-of-the-world thing, but.... 20 cases in a country of 300 million? And none of them deaths? All mostly mild cases that are recovering?

    Still, you only need one person to spark a worldwide disaster, and this strain worries me in particular - it seems to attack young, healthy males... just like in 1918*.

    *But why, though? It seems stupid for a virus to attack someone with a working immmune system and not go after an easier target like someone old or very young.

    Global paranoia and border closures are just what we need during a recession....

    At least those people who stocked up on shotgun shells may be able to use them. But it'll be against sick people, not government agents...

    Should I start stocking up on surgical masks and gallons of water? Or am I getting worried about something fairly minor? I'm just a scared civilian. What the doctor's take on this?
    Carpe Navi: Because you never know when you'll get to go boating at government expense again.

  2. #2
    Registered User Exalted Member lunchmeat's Avatar
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    Big difference in the health care systems in the US and Mexico, it's going to have a major impact on survivorship. It's also graphic evidence of the folly of the anti-vacination movement (places where this has taken hold have seen a resurgence of diseases that largely disappeared in the 19th and 20th centuries), personnaly I don't take advise on such things from folks like Jenny Mcarthy. While there probably are some Playboy centerfolds that actually did become research scientists, it's likely a small minority and I'm pretty confident she isn't one of them.

    One thing that helps is regular hand washing, though not to the point where the skin is compromised (in other words don't get obsessive about it). I'd avoid anti-bacterial soaps, though, the surfactant factor of the soap (breaking bacteria and viruses loose from the skin and rinsing them down the drain) is the important thing, all antibiotic soaps do is build up immune strains (that evolution thing, again) and cell products to panicky yuppies. Avoid touching your mucous membranes (anythingon you that's normally, well, wet) or areas near them after being in contact with surfaces other people touch (door knobs, railings and so on) without washing first. Some of this is spread by aerosols when people cough or sneeze and you can never tell where it lands. It tends to be more common where large groups of people congregate, so one needs to pay attention to what one is touching in crowd scenarios.

    When I first heard reports of the swine flu, the first thing that came to mind was an old Saturday Night Live routine where John Belushi played the leader of the Killer Bees.
    Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”

  3. #3
    Administrator Honored Elder jeriddian's Avatar
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    The 1918 flu was a Perfect Storm scenario. Several factors came together to make that pandemic as widespread as it was, not the least of which was the variant of Influenza which sparked it, and I don't think this strain is related. The other factors involved are not present at this time as well. And actually, the reason healthy young males seemed to be attacked was due to institutional situations where people are in close in settings where the virus can spread rapidly (like army barracks and mental institutions). In terms of actual morbidity and mortality though, it was still mostly the old and very young who had the worst consequences on a statistical basis.

    This is not the first time we've had a scare about a new flu strain hitting us, or hitting anybody. As usual the media is playing it up for all it's worth, and I really don't think it's worth much. If it were a true pandemic, the numbers in Mexico with their definitely inferior health care would be much more massive and concerning. With only 80 deaths, I feel the risk is no more than usual, especially in healthy young adults like yourself.
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    Registered User Exalted Member Fireand'chutes77's Avatar
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    Speaking of which -

    There's nothing quite like an international health crisis to put one's squawkings into proper perspective.

    So it's been four months and Congress hasn't even confirmed Obama's HHS pick. Way to go, Republicans.
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    Super Moderator Honored Elder campy's Avatar
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    The Republicans are running Congress again? Did I sleep through an election? (As if I could be that lucky. )

  6. #6
    Administrator Honored Elder jeriddian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    Speaking of which -

    There's nothing quite like an international health crisis to put one's squawkings into proper perspective.

    So it's been four months and Congress hasn't even confirmed Obama's HHS pick. Way to go, Republicans.
    Not so much the Republicans as it is the radical right.
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  7. #7
    Registered User Exalted Member kyojikasshu's Avatar
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    I'm not going to get worried about it... if it does blow up to pandemic proportions, I know I'm prepared, because I've helped develop a plan for our team at work.

  8. #8
    Registered User Exalted Member lunchmeat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fireand'chutes77 View Post
    Speaking of which -

    There's nothing quite like an international health crisis to put one's squawkings into proper perspective.

    So it's been four months and Congress hasn't even confirmed Obama's HHS pick. Way to go, Republicans.
    HHS is of less significance in this sort of thing than the Surgeon General, who would be tasked with coordinating any effort.
    Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.”

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    Administrator Honored Elder jeriddian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    I'm not going to get worried about it... if it does blow up to pandemic proportions, I know I'm prepared, because I've helped develop a plan for our team at work.
    Well, in my case, I will be at higher risk. The patients I see on a daily basis are the most susceptible; elderly, chronically ill, immunocompromised, and grouped together in an institutional setting which is a dialysis center.
    "Say the Word"

  10. #10
    Moderator Venerated Elder TransWarpDrive's Avatar
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    My main concern regarding the swine flu is that the boy who contracted it in Ohio is from Lorain County, which is up in the Cleveland area. My sister and her family live in a suburb of Cleveland, not too far from there.

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