Swine flu has killed 540 kids, sickened 22 million Americans

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by gapsych, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    What many people do not realize is that the flu season has just started.

    By Steve Sternberg, USA TODAY

    Swine flu has swept through about 22 million Americans from April to October, killing an estimated 3,900 people, including 540 children, health officials said Thursday.
    The analysis represents the government's latest effort to assess a viral outbreak that in just six months has flooded emergency rooms and intensive-care beds in at least 48 states that have reported widespread flu cases. With flu season just beginning, an estimated 98,000 people have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    "We've been tracking influenza for decades," says Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "What we are seeing in 2009 is unprecedented."

    What the numbers don't reveal is what will happen next, because no one knows yet when the flu season will hit its peak or how many waves of cases to expect, says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    The new national estimates are extrapolations of data drawn from a CDC emerging-diseases network of hospitals, laboratories and health departments in 10 states and from reports of hospitalizations and deaths, Schuchat says. They illustrate the extent to which swine flu, also known as H1N1, is hitting children, who account for 8 million infections, 36,000 hospitalizations and 540 deaths. In a typical flu season, about 80 children die.

    Arnold Monto, a flu expert at the University of Michigan, says the government must rely on estimates such as these because flu tests in doctors' offices are unreliable and most diagnoses are based on patients' symptoms. That makes flu reporting sketchy at best.

    "We know we are missing cases," Monto says. "What they're trying to do with these estimation methods is fill in the gaps."

    Fortunately, most flu cases so far have run their course after a few days of bed rest, fluids and aspirin or acetaminophen to combat fever, doctors say. But the disease has taken a disproportionate toll among pregnant women, diabetics and young people, especially those with neuromuscular ailments such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.

    In a typical flu season, which ends in May, 90% of deaths and hospitalizations involve people 65 and older. The H1N1 outbreak began in April; 90% of those who become infected and need medical care are younger than 65.

    Schuchat urges people who appear to be getting severely ill and those with chronic conditions and asthma to quickly see a doctor. Antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu and Relenza, are most effective when given soon after symptoms set in, she says. What worries her most is that flu season has barely begun: "We have a long flu season ahead of us."
  2. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    The flu pandemic during WWI seems to have been the worst in history. Nobody
    knows how many people died, but it was millions. Maybe 50 million.

    There are some pictures on the net that show American soldiers on cots, filling
    a huge building. I think it was an airplane hanger.

    All we can do is cope as best we can. It is so sad about the children.

    Thanks for the informative post, Gap.


    ETA if you go here, you can see video about the flu virus and
    how it spreads.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3318/02.html[This Message was Edited on 11/13/2009]
  3. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    In our county, the County Health Department actually went on TV and told people with H1N1 (Swine Flu) to NOT go to their doctors and instead stay at home. What the County Health Department failed to state was that staying at home, they would not get an anti-viral that might help with the severity of the Swine flu. I think our county handled it poorly and possibly added to the death toll.

    We are one of the states that border Mexico (and Mexico got hit very badly), we got hit very badly early on, are still getting hit, and JUST NOW the vaccine is being offered to all people. For the longest time it was offered only to children and pregnant women and many would not get it for their children.

    I think it was held too long in the hopes that parents would change their minds and allow children to get the shots. I think that a short period for the kids to get the vaccine and once that period was over, then the vaccine should have then been opened up for others. You can't beg and plead with people, you have to help people that actually want the help.
  4. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    I have gotten flu shots since before the 1990s and before I was diagnosed with Lupus. I used to work in a large firm and they would have the medical place come in and give the shots right in the firm. My boss never got one and many others didn't, and the flu would just hit person after person and always hit my boss every single year. I had to protect myself from the other people that got sick all around me at work. The vaccine works well for me and this year I got the regular flu shot in September, then they got me the swine flu shot early because I am off the lupus medication for a while.

    I have learned that what works well for one person, may not work well for another and that's okay. And we each have to do what we feel is best for us.