Are you freaking out about the Swine Flu?

You all know I am a major hypochondriac, as well as a germaphobe so I am REALLY trying hard not to panic over these Swine Flu outbreaks (maybe soon to be called pandemic – which is a super scary word!) I kind of want to keep my kids out of school, but I’m sure Michael wouldn’t allow it.

Things aren’t looking good though. The Associated Press reports:

“World health officials raised a global alert to an unprecedented level as swine flu was blamed for more deaths in Mexico and the epidemic crossed new borders, with the first cases confirmed Tuesday in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific regions.”

“With the swine flu having already spread to at least six other countries, authorities around the globe are like firefighters battling a blaze without knowing how far it extends.”

” ‘At this time, containment is not a feasible option,’ said Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general of the World Health Organization, which raised its alert level on Monday.”

“With the virus spreading, the U.S. prepared for the worst even as President Barack Obama tried to reassure Americans.”

“At the White House, a swine flu update was added to Obama’s daily intelligence briefing. Obama said the outbreak is ‘not a cause for alarm,’ even as the U.S. stepped up checks of people entering the country and warned U.S. citizens to avoid nonessential travel to Mexico.”

” ‘We are proceeding as if we are preparatory to a full pandemic,’ said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.”

Meanwhile, like many mothers, I’ve got friends adding fuel to the fire. I stopped by to take my girlfriend a baby present yesterday and she says “You know Dr. Oz was on “The View” today, and he says you might want to stock up on groceries because we might be told we shouldn’t go to work or school on Friday.”

Whaat??  I watched a clip of Dr. Oz on “The View” online and he DIDN’T SAY that at least not in the clip, and in fact was pretty encouraging. Here’s the clip. (I do have “The View” from yesterday on my DVR so I’m going to watch that whole segment later to see if he said anything similar.)

So how much are you worrying about the Swine Flu – only concerned if you’ve been to Mexico or worried it’s spreading rapidly person-to-person? Have you thought about keeping your kids out of school or staying home from work?

55 comments Add your comment

Stan

April 28th, 2009
8:47 am

I’m not worried, at least not at this point. It is way to early to start freaking out about it. I’m in ‘wait and see’ mode.

Becky

April 28th, 2009
9:03 am

I’m like Stan, I don’t really panic right off..I wait to see what happens..

Jesse's Girl

April 28th, 2009
9:21 am

I don’t freak out about things I can’t do much about…..although I did joke last night to Jesse that after his trips to China (bird flu) and Mexico (swine flu) he’d be axposing his family to the when-pigs-fly-flu:)The kids rolled their eyes like never before at that one:)….

Jesse's Girl

April 28th, 2009
9:21 am

sorry…exposing.

JJ

April 28th, 2009
9:28 am

Thanks for the new topic…..

I don’t freak out, period. My new mantra – No Stress, no drama. There is absolutely nothing I can do about this outbreak, except take care of me and mine.

We already are used to washing our hands NUMEROUS times a day. That’s the first thing my daughter does when she gets home from school, heads straight to the kitchen sink and washes her hands.

I am amazed at people in public restrooms who do not wash their hands. I’m weird about that. And I don’t grab the door handle either. I use a paper towel or tissue, then throw that away.

I don’t touch public stair rails or escalator rails. I can’t stand going to WalMart either. I feel like I need a total body shower after a trip there, so we don’t shop there anymore……

I keep hand sanitizer in the car, and use it after pumping gas…….icky icky, ewwww……..

Ok, so maybe I am freaky about germs…….but we very rarely get sick in my house. My mother is almost 80 and she very rarely gets sick too..

Michelle

April 28th, 2009
9:28 am

I don’t think there is reason to panic YET. We are prime for a pandemic though. It is never to early to be prepared “just in case.” I have been pretty bad about preparing myself (even though I have assisted in devoloping pandemic plans)! You should make sure you have enough non-perishable food & water in your home to last for a few days (this includes pets too). The best defense against something like this is PREVENTION! Good handwashing, covering coughs & sneezes, don’t go to school/work when you have a fever/vomiting, and good handwashing! Leading a healthy lifestyle to ward off infection is recommended as well (healthy eating, plenty of sleep, good hydration, exercise).

I’m not going to stress and freak out about a possible pandemic, but I am going to prepare. If a pandemic is going to occur, you can’t stop it in today’s age of world traveling. I will post a link shortly about what kinds of things and how much you should have on hand! I can’t remember it right off the top of my head!

Michelle

April 28th, 2009
9:34 am

OK…here is one link from the American Red Cross. You should always be prepared for disaster. http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.d8aaecf214c576bf971e4cfe43181aa0/?vgnextoid=46de1a53f1c37110VgnVCM1000003481a10aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default

There are also MANY other sites for disaster preparedness. They even sell “packaged” meals! It’s amazing what you can find!

Michelle

April 28th, 2009
9:36 am

Oh…I totally forgot about this one: http://www.ready.gov

You do the math...

April 28th, 2009
9:38 am

…Mexico reports 150 death related to the Swine Flu; the population of Mexico is approx, 111 million; that means .000001351% have died from the disease.

The U.S. has approx. 300 million residents; no deaths, yet.

But, just because I am paranoid does not mean they are not after me!!!!!

Penguinmom

April 28th, 2009
9:40 am

There have not even been any reported cases in Georgia. I might have some concern if I knew someone personally who had been to Mexico recently.

I guess I look at the fact that regular seasonal flu kills people every year but we don’t keep our kids out of school for that every year. I think normal common sense precautions like maintaining a healthy diet to keep your immune system up and washing your hand frequently are going to be the best response for now.

Plus, with the amount of seasonal allergies out there right now, we can’t panic every time someone sneezes or coughs.

Penguinmom

April 28th, 2009
9:42 am

Interesting site: Google Flu Trends. It’s a map of flu search activity on Google. It is supposed to be a really good indicator of the flu activity in the US.

http://www.google.org/flutrends/

Stan

April 28th, 2009
11:34 am

DB

April 28th, 2009
12:09 pm

Well, it may be wise to keep an eye on it, but panic? No way. There aren’t even any cases in Georgia, and only — what, 50 in the U.S.? Not to denigrate the health care system in Mexico, but I suspect that the ones that DID die in Mexico are the same ones that may die here — ones with compromised immune systems, those that are already sick, and the elderly, which is almost ALWAYS the case with any kind of ‘flu.

Wash your hands and stop worrying about it.

HB

April 28th, 2009
12:19 pm

DB, while I agree with you that there’s no need to panic, part of the concern over this virus is that relatively young (20s-30s), healthy people seem to be at highest risk of death. The 1918 flu was similar in this regard. It seems with this particular strain what is deadly is the immune reaction actually overwhelming the infected person, not the virus itself. Healthy immune systems can overeact, but weaker ones can’t, putting healthy adults at greater risk than the immune-compromised, the elderly, or very young children — the groups usually at highest risk of flu complications.

Photius

April 28th, 2009
12:30 pm

I’m concerned. The metrics show the death rate to be three times that of 1918 and it’s killing young healthy people. The CDC and government know it will spread. We’re overdue for a super virus so here it comes.

new mom

April 28th, 2009
12:45 pm

I’m not panicking yet :) We are taking the same precautions we always do, primarily washing hands often.
I do wish they would stop using Disney World as the example of where you can pick it up–we are headed there next week, and I don’t want to be all freaked out and not enjoying our time there. Apparently all the hand-washing you can do won’t help if someone with the virus coughs in your face!

nurse&mother

April 28th, 2009
1:14 pm

I am a little cautious for a few reasons. A. The world is overdue for a pandemic. Typically one occurs about every 30 years (give or take). The last once occured in the 60’s. B. I live in a city that has a relatively high hispanic population (most are from Mexico). C. I’ve seen how well (reeking of sarcasm) folks wash their hands when silently observed. It’s quite scary, actually. D. I am a nurse and am much more likely to be exposed to such communicable diseases.

I am certainly NOT in panic mode. I think I will try to run my errands when the children are in school if possible.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 28th, 2009
1:15 pm

Well I’ve visited two doctors over the last two days — the pediatrician for the baby and my general practitioner for me — and neither of these doctors are worried so far. Also asked the pharmacist who said no, not until there were cases in all 50 states — I have been diagnosed with Strep Throat — it is what you get after planning and carrying off a science birthday party for 14 kids with two hours of experiments — I’m scheduled to be one of the chaperones at Rose’s overnight field trip to the zoo tomorrow night for the 2nd grade!! Let’s hope the antibiotic kicks in fast!!

FCM

April 28th, 2009
1:32 pm

Freaking out? Can I control it? No, therefore I am not freaking out. Yes, I am encouraging the kids to step up their hygene habits. Yes, it is possible something bad could happen…..it is also possible I could die on the way home tonight with the way we drive here—I hope that doesn’t happen either!!!

However, I have been told by a reliable source that stocking a few groceries is not a bad idea. Fortunately, I keep a stocked freezer.

FCM

April 28th, 2009
1:37 pm

Photius—I have it on good grape vine that the CDC is deligently look into this matter and that they are working crazy hours to get to the bottom of it. In the meantime medicines are already being shipped to states with a high likelihood of the virus occuring.

In additon “The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has confirmed that US pigs have not been infected with the virus and early investigations reveal that none of the people infected had contact with pigs. “

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 28th, 2009
2:02 pm

Michael just pointed out to me that he spent all of yesterday and had dinner last night with a woman who just flew here from Mexico City!! She wore a mask on the plane!! I knew he was working with a manager of their Mexico bureau but I thought she had been working most recently in the states. I hadn’t put that together — that is sooo anoying!! He should have refused to have dinner with her — he should have worn a mask — Good thing I didn’t kiss him goodbye this morning — (well that and the strep!)

Michelle

April 28th, 2009
2:12 pm

DB, the thing that is most frightening about a pandemic is that is does NOT affect the young and the weak, but the healthy!

Pigs can get both the human flu and the bird flu. Those virus, if combined or realigned “just right” can then be transmitted back to humans. The pandemic will start when that virus is able to be transmitted from human to human! The healthy bodies go into overdrive to try to “attack” the virus. That is one of the reasons why everyone has been watching the bird flu so closely! With the ease of today’s intercontinental travel (less than 24 hours to almost anywhere), someone exposed can then expose people on multiple continents!

1911A1

April 28th, 2009
3:25 pm

It seems to be the media that’s doing most of the freaking out right now. I’m not surprised; most of the US cases have been in New York, and as we all know, NY is the absolute center of the known universe, especially where the media is concerned.

jbm

April 28th, 2009
4:17 pm

Everyone should use a strong mouthwash before bed and in the morning. Bacteria starts in your mouth and grows from the warmth. If you rinse twice a day, the germs don’t have time to manifest into ailments. I’ve been on an antibiotic mouthwash for gingivitis for over a year and have not even had a cold while using it and prior to this I was known as the carrier in the office.

DB

April 28th, 2009
4:19 pm

Ah, well, I learned something new today about the swine flu. Thanks!

Still not that worried, but am starting to wonder about a cruise I have planned to the Caribbean and Cozemel in June . . .

jbm

April 28th, 2009
4:35 pm

DB – a guy I work with today just canceled the same trip. I would call my travel agent if I were you.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 28th, 2009
4:41 pm

OH my goodness Jbm — I need that mouthwash — I am constantly catching stuff from my little friends!! I’m so tired of being seeing! I’m going to the dentist next week and am going to ask about that — would listerine work as well as a prescription???

HB

April 28th, 2009
6:11 pm

Antibiotics do not kill viruses. Medicated mouthwash to treat bacterial gum infections should NOT be used to prevent viral colds and flu (seriously people, think!), and overuse of antibiotics in general (including handsoaps that contain antibiotics) encourages the growth of drug-resistant strains. Listerine is an antiseptic, not medicated with antibiotics, but it also does not prevent or treat colds. In fact the FTC forced them to stop making marketing claims that it did back in the 70s.

What you can do that’s effective: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if those are not readily available when on-the-go, keep your hands away from your eyes and nose, and stay home when you’re sick. Beyond that, sickness happens, so do what you can, don’t buy into home theories and hype products like Airborne, and hope for the best.

FCM

April 28th, 2009
8:28 pm

HB–I will add get pleanty of rest and stay hydrated (with plain water not the vita-drinks).

In this heat, getting dehydrated will overload your resources making you a better target. Fatigue
always makes you a better target.

Be sensible….as to 1918 Pandemic….to quote Virgina Slim “We’ve come a long way baby!” The medical advances since then are many. Doctors are better educated, we have the CDC, we have the various media that get the word out fast…We the general public are better educated and informed. Our housing, sewage, and water systems are better than then. We are in much better shape today to take care of these things.

@ DB — Since I keep reading about the 1918 Pandemic I cannot help thinking of our favorite fictional vampire ‘birthed’ that year…….Silly I know.

deidre_NC

April 28th, 2009
8:33 pm

do you all realize how many people die every year from the normal flu? something like 36,000 here and 500,000 to 700,000 or more world-wide. so people dont freak out yet. imo its always smart to have some emergency supplies-there could be hurricanes-tornadoes-power outages for whatever reason. so thats a good idea anyway. at work today (a huge horrible store im sure yall can guess what lol) a lady came in and said she has the swine flu….grrr…some of the cashiers rushed to get gloves on…and then they were just acting all normal–touching stuff-then touching their faces etc—i gave a little lecture on how the gloves werent doing any good at all…to wash their hands frequently–use hand sanitizer—eat and drink healthily….etc…thats all we can ever do. if we all freak and panic it wont be good. hope you all have great health—you and your families–theresa i hope you get better soon…and that it doesnt pass to the kids!!!

one thing—do yall remember in 1976 there was a since flu scare and there was vaccines for it..i had one…what happened to those???

NDad

April 28th, 2009
8:46 pm

Just found out a case of swine flu has been confirmed at my daughter’s college. The student had already recovered by the time the CDC confirmed the strain. No other known active cases on campus at this time. It will be interesting to see if any other cases follow. . .

HB

April 28th, 2009
8:49 pm

Good additions, FCM. Along those lines, let’s add good nutrition too. Lots of fruits and veggies.

deidre_NC

April 28th, 2009
8:59 pm

Ndad what college and where? and when was this?

FCM

April 28th, 2009
9:13 pm

I did some more research on the Flu of 1918 (Spanish Flu): the major cause of death in the age group 18-45 was pneumonia as a secondary infection rather than the ‘only’ the flu.

That said, the major cause of deaths in most serious diseases (Cancer, AIDS, etc) is pneumonia. So in addition to the aforementioned ways to combat the latest round of Flu…..Stop Smoking. (Yes Stan, I know you hate that). Smokers, compromise their lungs, which leads to greater risk.

There is a wake up call out there….we HAVE to get our heads out of the McBucket, turn of the tube, stay clean, eat well (and local!), get rest.

Penguinmom

April 28th, 2009
10:00 pm

deidre, according to news reports, people in 1976 became concerned that the vaccines were causing more problems than they were solving after a couple of deaths and reports that an ingredient was causing potentially fatal paralysis in some.

I think it would be hard today to push a national flu vacinnation program. There are people who currently don’t want their children vacinnated against childhood diseases so I can’t imagine that the entire U.S. would go along with a swine flu vaccine.

DB

April 29th, 2009
12:05 am

FCM — heehee, oh, good, I wasn’t the only one!!! When I heard a talk show host this morning talking about Googling “Spanish Flu” and “1918″, I wondered how many of the hits referred to Edward!!!

I’m not going to panic on the cruise right now. It’s not for seven weeks, hopefully it will be under control by then.

motherjanegoose

April 29th, 2009
6:46 am

FCM….rest, thanks for mentioning it….hmmmm…another reason why I cannot get up at 4:00 a.m. each day to kiss my husband goodbye and then go to work all week and work weekends too. Did I mention this last week and no one seemed to think it was a big deal…that it was more important to be up with one’s spouse? If you are flat on your back or in the hospital, kissing will not be an option.
Theresa, I hope you are feeling better. I am with a different pool of germs every day ( in schools with children) and thus could pick up a myriad of things ( strep throat included…not fun at all ) and that would knock me on my butt…if I did not have the proper rest. This is a been there done that event in my life and not worth any kiss for me….LOL.

NDad

April 29th, 2009
6:53 am

deidre_NC,

This was in northern Indiana, at the University of Notre Dame. The student reported to the infirmary on April 22, the Indiana Health Dept identified the culture as potential Swine flu on the 24th, and the CDC confirmed it yesterday.

NDad

April 29th, 2009
8:32 am

deidra_NC,

This was in northern Indiana, at the University of Notre Dame. The student sought treatment April 22, the Indiana Health Dept. determined potential swine flu on Apr 24, and the CDC confirmed the swine strain on Apr 28.

jbm

April 29th, 2009
11:19 am

Theresa, yes, listerine or any alcohol based will work. Mine is Chlorhexidine and it actually is an antibiotic. Ask your dentist but if he doesn’t want to prescribe it, use the listerine.

Cammi317

April 29th, 2009
11:29 am

In as much as my daughter came home coughing on Friday and now I am under the weather, yes! My office actually sent me home on yesterday morning 2 seconds after I stepped through the door, but I am back today feeling a little better. Trying to stay in my office and away from everyone else for the most part.

jbm

April 29th, 2009
11:32 am

HB – I only know the facts in regards to my own health. I was constantly sick until I started using chlorhexidine and even after exposure to sick children, spouse & co-workers, I never caught anything. Anitibiotics don’t kill virus’s but they do kill germs which the virus derives from. Also, since I haven’t been sick in over a year, it’s been over a year since I’ve taken antibiotics or even been to the Dr. for anything other than a checkup. When I mentioned my use of the mouthwash to my MD and asked if he thought that was why I never got sick, he simply replied “hmm, possibly”.

DB

April 29th, 2009
12:26 pm

jbm – “Anitibiotics don’t kill virus’s but they do kill germs which the virus derives from”.

“Germ” is a generic term that covers bacteria, virus, fungi (and some people include protozoic forms such as Ghiardia, etc.) A virus does not “derive” or “evolve” from a “germ” — it is a completely separate biological structure entirely. So please don’t think you’re killing viruses or getting a pre-emptive strike in on viruses with the use of that stuff.

Glad whatever you’ve found keeps you feeling healthy, but frankly, that “hmm, possibly” is a generic term that doctors generally use when they don’t have time or inclination to argue with a patient. They pick their battles: What you’re doing doesn’t hurt, so why get into an arguement with you over it?

HB

April 29th, 2009
1:01 pm

jbm, I’m happy that you’re healthier, but do doubt that it’s because mouthwash is killing viruses before they can infect you. There is a growing body of evidence that oral health is important to overall health, so it could be that having heathier gums has left you less succeptible to infection. I know that my allergy medicine prevents sinus infections and I bet even colds — not because it kills germs, but because it keeps my sinuses from becoming inflamed to the point that they become succeptible to infection, prevents itchy, irritated eyes that despite my best efforts I end up rubbing with my hands, etc. That doesn’t mean that allergy meds will lessen colds for my mom who doesn’t have allergies, so I would never go around recommending it to others as a general preventive measure. Alcohol-based mouthwashes have also been linked to oral cancer, so as a general rule, I’d say if a person’s teeth and gums are healthy through regular brushing and flossing, then they shouldn’t go overboard on antiseptics or use antibacterial products.

DB

April 29th, 2009
1:27 pm

Just got an email from my cruise line today — they have dropped Mexico from their itinerary and substituted it with a different port of call. So, slight change of plans, but it’s still a “go”.

jbm

April 29th, 2009
1:38 pm

HB – Like I said, I’m only stating what it has done for me. Since it is prescribed by a physician, whether I recommend it or not should not matter as it’s entirely up to ones doctor.

HB

April 29th, 2009
1:57 pm

Well actually, you didn’t just state what it has done for you. You said, “Everyone should use a strong mouthwash before bed and in the morning. Bacteria starts in your mouth and grows from the warmth. If you rinse twice a day, the germs don’t have time to manifest into ailments.” The first part is a recommendation, the second part is flat wrong, and later you said that Listerine, which is not a prescription, will work just as well. Theresa seemed to think you had discovered something that actually does what you claimed, so I felt it important to point out that no, that is not the case, and that she (and other readers here) probably shouldn’t start having her kids use a strong mouthwash everyday to prevent swine flu.

jbm

April 29th, 2009
3:42 pm

HB, I work with a chemist, environmental engineer and biologist. They invented the natural enzymes that many companies use today to kill bacteria in hospitals. They all say your wrong. Killing bacteria whether on your hands or in your mouth are the key to maintaining your well being and mouthwash is just important as had washing. Unless you can prove you have more knowledge than they do, I’ll continue to have my beliefs.

jbm

April 29th, 2009
3:43 pm

Theresa, contact me directly if you would like a sample of our product sent to you.

jbm

April 29th, 2009
4:31 pm

Okay, everyone DON’T use mouthwash (per HB). After all, it causes cancer just like the air we breath.