All This Swine Flu Stuff- Fact or Fiction?

Every day there's more news about how many new cases of flu have been discovered and where. The latest numbers that I have seen:

Officials have confirmed at least 93 cases in the United States, including 51 in New York, 14 in California, 16 in Texas, three in Maine; two in Kansas, two in Massachusetts, and one each in Indiana, Ohio, Arizona and Nevada. CDC also said Michigan had two, but state officials maintained only one was confirmed. As of yesterday a 23 month old in Texas who traveled with it's mother from Mexico, is the only victim in the US that has died, and they have discovered 2 more cases in San Mateo, CA this morning.
I have to confess, until this happened I have never really understood what a "Pandemic" was. I just thought somehow it was connected to an "epidemic". I never really paid attention during SARS or the bird flu because it never seemed to get so out of hand so fast. Now it's hitting close to home so if any one else doesn't understand it here you go-

A pandemic is an epidemic that spreads around the whole world. Pandemics also often cause more severe disease than epidemics.
I think it's very important to keep the public informed and remind them of ways to prevent getting it. Unfortunately informing the public also means panic in most cases. Once again "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" and most of it is just pure common sense precautions you would take in any situation where you may catch an illness from someone else.
According to the news here, in some places there isn't a face mask or bottle of anti-bacterial soap to be had. While these are great to have on hand, according to a lot of physicians they don't really help much. The main things to remember are to wash your hands often, don't touch any of your sinus cavities (eyes, nose, mouth), and stay out of places where people are breathing on you, sneezing, or coughing. If you have symptoms yourself, take precautions not to infect others. This means no matter how guilty your boss makes you feel for calling in sick, STAY HOME. Wash your hands often, cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and throw tissues away immediately.

The initial symptoms of this flu virus are like those of the regular, annual flu viruses: fever, muscle aches, runny nose, and sore throat. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may be more common with this swine flu than with the regular flu, although to me those are the things that always defined a flu vs. a cold, etc. People should seek medical attention immediately if more serious symptoms develop.

For adults, teens, and kids age 3 to 12, the most worrisome symptoms are:

Shortness of breath
Persistent vomiting

For children younger than 2, the most worrisome symptoms are:

Very rapid breathing
Not interacting normally, not eating or drinking normally, being unusually irritable, or appearing unusually sleepy
High fever and rash
A bluish color of the lips and skin

Adults should be considered contagious until at least 7 days after the start of symptoms; with children, it may be 10 to 14 days.

Another symptom of the panic is people are starting to order Tamiflu online without a prescription and self medicating. This is really scary. The regular yearly flu shot is ineffective for this particular strain of flu, so people are looking for other answers. I saw on one of the message boards this morning where someone was bragging about being "all stocked up without a prescription" and telling others where to get it. According to one of the health newsletters I get-
Let's not forget that Tamiflu comes with its own problems, including side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, cough…the very symptoms you're trying to avoid. And let's not forget that Japan banned this drug for children back in 2007, after links to suicidal behavior.
They are in a dead heat to find a vaccine for this and unfortunately if they come up with one they won't have time for clinical trials to see how effective or how dangerous it is, so the best thing is to do what you can to protect your own immune system. Personally in our house, we use Nutrilite Triple Guard Echinacea. I know there were a couple of headlines that say it doesn't work, but between my kids and my customers, you'd be hard-pressed proving to them it doesn't work. My kids reach for it as soon as they feel like they're coming down with something and I don't even have to remind them. LOL.

Oh, and by the way, cooked properly it's as safe as it ever was to eat pork. LOL.

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