Sunday, September 6

{swine flu}

Just thought I would post some information about the Swine Flu which seems to be everywhere these days!

Although the name 'swine flu' brings up a lot of extra fear and worry, it is important to note that swine flu is just an influenza A H1N1 virus.

That means that it is just another type of flu virus, just like that causes our typical seasonal flu symptoms. The big difference is that the current swine influenza A (H1N1) virus has components of pig and bird influenza viruses in it, so that humans don't have any immunity to it. That is what made it more likely that it would become a pandemic virus (have the ability to cause a global outbreak) because it could easily spread from person-to-person.

We do know that swine flu symptoms are just like seasonal flu symptoms.

Swine Flu Symptoms

According to the CDC, like seasonal flu, symptoms of swine flu infections can include:

  • fever, which is usually high, but unlike seasonal flu, is sometimes absent
  • cough
  • runny nose or stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue or tiredness, which can be extreme
  • diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes, but more commonly seen than with seasonal flu

Signs of a more serious swine flu infection might include pneumonia and respiratory failure.

If your child has symptoms of swine flu, you should avoid other people and call your pediatrician who might do a rapid flu test to see if he has an influenza A infection. Further testing can then be done to see if it is a swine flu infection. (Samples can be sent to local and state health departments and the CDC for confirmation of swine flu, especially if a child is in the hospital.)

Serious Swine Flu Symptoms

More serious symptoms that would indicate that a child with swine flu would need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Swine Flu Symptoms vs. a Cold or Sinus Infection

It is important to keep in mind most children with a runny nose or cough will not have swine flu and will not have to see their pediatrician for swine flu testing.

This time of year, many other childhood conditions are common, including:

What You Need To Know

  • Swine flu likely spreads by direct contact with respiratory secretions of someone that is sick with swine flu, like if they were coughing and sneezing close to you.

  • People with swine flu are likely contagious for one day before and up to seven days after they began to get sick with swine flu symptoms.

  • Droplets from a cough or sneeze can also contaminate surfaces, such as a doorknob, drinking glass, or kitchen counter, although these germs likely don't survive for more than a few hours.

  • Anti-flu medications, including Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir), are available toprevent and treat swine flu.


CDC. Swine Influenza and You. Accessed April 2009.


Sweet Tea in Seattle said...

oh Petunia - thanks so much for posting this info! With school starting and my family flying so much lately (not to mention all those germy surfaces at MofA/Nickolodean-land yesterday I am definitely watching for symptoms!

Brie said...

Great post with a lot of useful info, thanks!

One thing to seriously consider is that not all pediatrician offices will do the flu test if your insurance will not cover it. Even if you offer to pay out of your own pocket, ours refused (this happened to my next door neighbor). This has got to be scewing the numbers of reported cases (for example our public schools were claiming zero cases) however at one point last June over 10% of the middle school was absent with flu like symptoms (that's over 100 kids in one day)

I guess the moral of the story is use extreme caution even if you aren't offered an official diagnoses from your md and keep your kids home from school for the full week as is currently being suggested.

M.Lane said...

A very useful and thoughtful post. Most of the fear people have, as usual, stems from not having any information.

Timely too. Last night/early this AM, I had to take my father in law to the ER. He was observed for the night and is back home now, but I noticed that lots of people in the ER were wearing masks. The staff told me that they now treat EVERYONE that comes in with flu symptoms for swine flu. That should jack up the numbers considerably if it is the practice in other towns.


short southern momma said...

Thanks so much for the info!! = )

Southern Living: Preppy Style said...

Thank you for posting! It seems there are many misconceptions causing 1) people to overreact or 2) not react enough and get treated when necessary. This was very helpful.

cK said...

Thanks so much for posting this! My husband and I had to bring our 24 yr old daughter to the hospital emergency last night for this very reason.

She had a "cold" for the last two weeks which I thought had triggered her asthma into overdrive. She is also prone to pneumonia so with the last 3 days of coughing with nothing working for her over the counter and her breathing getting worse we brought her in.

We were shocked to find out she has the H1N1 virus! They didn't admit her but sent us home with Tylenol 3, with orders that she should be isolated away from the rest of the family and to watch for pneumonia developing. Good news is that her lungs are clear, and her asthma is under control.

I have to say I didn't take all the news stories very seriously before, but now that it's hit us personally I'm trying to educate myself as much as I can.

FYI people with Asthma are considered a high risk and if I had known that before we probably would have taken her in sooner.

In this wonderful life... said...

thanks for posting this! it is a quite scary virus!

Veuve and Varsity said...

My Mum caught this about a month ago she was quite ill for about a week - everyone seems to react different to it. I was living with her and never caught it!

The Dishy Decorator said...

Great post! Thanks for taking the time to list all the info and links.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

Good information...and information IS power when it comes to keeping folks calm and logical about how to proceed if symptons present themselves. I'm praying it won't be as bad as folks might think.