Flu Update: July 28

Well, it finally happened.

I was sitting in the hotel restaurant Sunday morning and saw a report from WRAL-TV summarizing the Swine Flu (H1N1) outbreak in North Carolina. The news media is starting to pay attention.

That might not be a good thing: At least one medical blogger believes that news coverage so far has been “misguided and dangerous” and another considers it “media malpractice.” TV news – especially local TV news – has always concentrated on “The Fuzz and the Was” to generate ratings. People seem to be drawn to bad news, so stations concentrate on crime (which of course brings out the Fuzz, an older slang term for the police) and death (the “was”… people who *was* here but aren’t anymore). So examine everything you see or read with a critical eye.

That said, the British Heart Foundation says that people with a complex Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) could be at a greater risk for H1N1 complications. They recommend that CHDers go for treatment as soon as possible after they begin to show symptoms. Effect Measure has a great post about identifying Swine Flu symptoms that you really need to read, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also has good information. I’ve posted both of those links before, but there is every reason in the world to remind ourselves what to look for. If you have a Chronic Illness, you’re more susceptible to H1N1. CDC also has an information sheet on the H1N1 vaccine. People with underlying health conditions are a priority group to receive the vaccine.

Canadian researchers are attempting to discover if Vitamin D protects against the Swine Flu. A positive finding would give us another weapon to fight with, because H1N1 could become resistant to Tamiflu.

Meanwhile the Pandemic – and the Panic – continues in Great Britain, egged on in part by sensationalist press coverage. Thermometer sales are up 700% and you can hardly find one for sale. The Guardian acknowledges that there is “more panic than pandemic” but the very next day The Daily Mail warns that Tamiflu resistance could “leave Britain all but defenceless”!

The flu is gonna get you, so run for your lives! Oh, as you leave… buy our newspaper!

Bottom Line: H1N1 can have serious consequences for the Chronically Ill, including (and perhaps especially) those of us with a Heart Defect. So watch the news with a critical eye, keep up with the latest flu news, and take care of yourself. The only one who is really looking out for your health is YOU.


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