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Update on swine flu

Posted Apr 25 2009 11:33pm

For those of you following this story (particularly those of you in California and Texas!), here is the update from the Centers for Disease Control :

Here is the Cliff's notes version:
1. If you feel like you are coming down with the flu: fever/bodyaches/fatigue are the first symptoms, followed by cough/funny nose/sore throat, and occasionally vomiting/diarrhea—see your doctor and get it checked out.

2. As you can see from the symptoms listed, swine flu is similar to human flu.

3. Your doctor can do a flu test and send it out to the appropriate health department to be tested swine flu if your flu test is positive.

4. Swine flu is treatable with the same antiviral medications as human influenza virus—Tamiflu and Relenza. And, just like human influenza virus, people who live with or are exposed to someone with swine flu can take these medications preventatively.

5. Don't freak out. The reason this is such big news, and certainly very troublesome in the medical world, is that swine flu should only be infecting pigs—it rarely infects humans, and when it does, its usually a human that has been in contact with a pig. Human to human transmission of this virus is also concerning. It's not clear at this point how easily this swine flu virus is able to spread via humans. The infection itself is not that different than having a human flu strain.

6. That said, with any type of influenza infection, seek medical treatment as soon as possible to potentially get treated with antiviral medication. The greatest concerns are for dehydration, secondary bacterial infection (such as pneumonia), people who have underlying medical problems, infants, and elderly people.

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