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posted by [personal profile] orichalcum at 10:47am on 26/04/2009
For folks who haven't been paying attention to the news lately:

There's a reasonable chance that the swine flu is going to turn into a global pandemic. For most people, it just results in mild flu symptoms. In Mexico, however, there has been so far a 6% fatality rate, entirely among young, healthy adults (which is not normal for the flu). If you're having flu symptoms and having any respiratory distress, going to the hospital and getting things checked out is not the world's worst idea.

We are planning on picking up a few emergency supplies and, if we can find them, some surgical masks later today, in case there's a "no congregating in public places" warning that goes out. I don't think this is time to push the panic button, but it may be time to press the caution button.

CP and I, fyi, have had 2nd-degree contact with a flu victim (the same archaeologist that President Obama met directly, oddly enough), but the point of contact was long enough ago that we would have already come down with symptoms were there any danger. (There's a 2-5 day incubation period; the disease appears to be airborne and highly infectious. We had lunch with my cousin 6 days ago, who 8 days before that had been at a conference with that archaeologist.)
Mood:: 'worried' worried
There are 18 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] amethyst73.livejournal.com at 07:32pm on 26/04/2009
Mmm. I'd been thinking it was probably time to refresh our emergency water supply...
posted by [identity profile] marginaleye.livejournal.com at 08:09pm on 26/04/2009
Well, working as I do with the public (including some fairly grubby and diseased subsets thereof) there's not a whole heck of a lot I can do about this. I'll just keep my fingers crossed, and hope I don't roll a "1" on my d20 "resist swine flu" saving throw (not precisely 6%, but it's "close enough for gubmint work").
posted by [identity profile] digitalemur.livejournal.com at 08:33pm on 26/04/2009
We keep Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer at our reference desk for flu season anyway-- if you can talk your workplace into stocking them for you, or just bring your own, it's a simple thing that can help. The hand sanitizer came in handy bigtime last summer when we had a boil order on our workplace water for 3 days.
posted by [identity profile] digitalemur.livejournal.com at 08:31pm on 26/04/2009
I don't know that I'd yet call it a "reasonable chance," but I don't know what I _would_ call it, so uh, watching the news and having a supply of canned goods is _always_ good policy. I mean, we'll see how far it has traveled, in a few days, but we really don't know yet. That it has not killed young and healthy adults in the US is a good sign that this isn't _the one_, though I fear for Mexico.

And it's better for me as a higher education employee that it's happening late in the school year, because the earlier in an academic year this hits the harder it will be on us financially. Then again, if we send our students home at the end of the year and that turns out to be when a pandemic really starts rolling, who knows how much transmission we will have caused.
posted by [identity profile] ladybird97.livejournal.com at 09:10pm on 26/04/2009
Ditto to the academic-year timing - it's a weird time of year. Even weirder for me because I've got a lot of students who commute from Brooklyn and Queens, and there's been a cluster found in a Queens high school. All the kids there seem to be relatively OK - I don't think any of them were even hospitalized - but it's always a good idea to be cautious.

I hope that archaeologist and your cousin are both OK, Ori! And you too, of course. And the President...
posted by [identity profile] orichalcum.livejournal.com at 04:44am on 27/04/2009
Well, the Mexican archaeoastronomer is dead. Luckily, my cousin (who seems to actually have met him _before_ he came down with the flu) and Obama and we are all fine.

posted by [identity profile] feir-fireb.livejournal.com at 09:09pm on 26/04/2009
Other interesting notes: H1N1 is the same flu group as Spanish Flu of 1918. Apparently the Spanish Flu also primarily affected the young and healthy in part because it would set up a feedback loop for a disproportionate immune system response. This effect is something they have drugs for these, but I don't know how widely held they are.
posted by [identity profile] orichalcum.livejournal.com at 04:44am on 27/04/2009
Interesting. Yeah, it sounds like in the U.S., we've got lots of Tamiflu and it works well against this. That is, well, less true for much of the world.
posted by [identity profile] emilymorgan.livejournal.com at 10:35pm on 26/04/2009
Yeeeeah, I was in a NYC public school on Thursday. In the Bronx, but with people coming in from all over.
posted by [identity profile] meepodeekin.livejournal.com at 11:58pm on 26/04/2009
I don't know. You have extra reason to be cautious, but for my part I'm a bit tired of the fearmongering in which the media engages. I will never forget the time when I was in high school and my parents reacted to one of these bulletins by buying huge amounts of stable foodstuffs. All they got for their troubles was the worst outbreak of meal worms I have ever seen or heard of in my life. No one has died in the US.

Normal caution is good caution all the time, but I'm not locking myself in the house over this.
posted by [identity profile] orichalcum.livejournal.com at 04:43am on 27/04/2009
I don't think it is time to lock yourself in the house. But the problem with pandemics is that by the time it is, it may be later than ideal to buy the foodstuffs (which should be bought for the week rather than year sort of quantities.)
posted by [identity profile] xse99.livejournal.com at 01:59am on 27/04/2009
I actually have to speak up: according to Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg, going to the hospital is NOT recommended unless your symptoms are severe. Hospitals are efficient transmitters of disease to large numbers of immuno-compromised people.

I hope everyone is ok, and I understand this being a scary thing, but I'm not worried yet. It was an interesting weekend for me to start reading World War Z, I can tell you that! (I'm still in the opening "outbreak of nasty zombifying virus" section.)
posted by [identity profile] cerebralpaladin.livejournal.com at 04:04am on 27/04/2009
Right, the key is the respiratory distress. If you have normal flu symptoms, stay home. If you have flu symptoms and are having any serious respiratory problems (trouble breathing, pneumonia-like symptoms, etc.), then getting to the hospital immediately could be vital.
posted by [identity profile] feir-fireb.livejournal.com at 04:29am on 27/04/2009
I'm not sure that's clear. The relevant antivirals need to be applied relatively early in order to be effective.
posted by [identity profile] marginaleye.livejournal.com at 02:07am on 27/04/2009
Hey, let's look at the big picture:

Pigs are bad news.

Factory farming is bad news.

Raising pigs in factory farms is really, really bad news.

Or, in the immortal words of Quentin Tarantino:
Vincent: Want some bacon?
Jules: No man, I don't eat pork.
Vincent: Are you Jewish?
Jules: Nah, I ain't Jewish, I just don't dig on swine, that's all.
Vincent: Why not?
Jules: Pigs are filthy animals. I don't eat filthy animals.
Vincent: Bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.
Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eat nothin' that ain't got enough sense enough to disregard its own feces.
posted by [identity profile] wildpaletz.livejournal.com at 02:30pm on 27/04/2009
My first (illogical, hilarious) thought was:

Shit, does this mean I *should* eat cat?
posted by [identity profile] zfarcher.livejournal.com at 11:32pm on 27/04/2009
Sorry to intrude

Any flu conversation needs to emphasize "Wash Your Hands!"

Be careful about the 6% case fatality rate. Right now, there is some dispute about data coming out of Mexico. I know of some cases that were initially attributed to swine flu that later have been found to be due to other causes.

Key elements of this flu seem to be a rapid onset of high fever along with GI symptoms (in addition to the regular flu-like symptoms).

posted by [identity profile] orichalcum.livejournal.com at 06:32am on 28/04/2009
Thanks for the advice! Always happy to hear from the professionals in cases like this. :)


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