Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swine Flu, a Horse That Flew, and the Passing of a Senator...

Good Evening Everyone,
By now, I am sure that you have heard about the recent 'swine flu' out break that the news media is hyping to induce hysteria. I want to take a few moments to provide information about this virus.

This particular virus is H1N1 viral strain that actually appears to be more of an Avian Bird Flu strain that has mutated and has infected swine as well as people. Swine flu is a virus so it is spread from person to person via hand to hand contact, hand to inanimate objects, and through droplets that are expectorated during a cough or sneezing. It appears that this strain is affecting the young. There is some indication that this virus may have the same make up of the Swine Flu in 1976 so consequently those who were exposed in 1976 may have some immunity to this particular strain.It is important not to panic. As of today appx. 250 to 300 people have been affected and one death has been attributed to this virus. In comparison, last year alone over 13,000 people died from the influenza virus.

Precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of this virus. Standard universal procedures like hand washing, cleaning inanimate objects like phones, keyboards, and door knobs, covering mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing and be sure to wash toys that more than one child has access to.

The H1N1 virus is a tough little guy. It can live up to 3 days on a hard surface and replicates quickly once it finds a host.

Treatment of course starts with preventative measures as listed above. Annual flu vaccinations are important but unfortunately it appears that this years vaccination does not cover this virus.If a person is infected with this virus, standard influenza treatment is appropriate and includes administering anti-viral medications like Tamiflu, hydration therapy, and symptomatic management. Tamiflu should be administered within 48 hours of infectivity.

The H1N1 virus is communicable from the day before symptoms are recognized to 7 days after symptoms begin.

Diagnosis of this virus is through nasal swabs to obtain a rapid in office diagnosis, however, there is an appx. 30% false negative rate on this study and so a nasal wash needs to be administered for a definitive diagnoses.

Pt. at risk for complications are the very young, the very old, and immunocompromised pt. who may have co-morbidities.

It is important to stay calm and practice good hygeine and utilize preventative measures.We have had great improvement in our ability to manage these potential pandemic illnesses.
-In the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic over 50 million people died.
-In the 1957 Asian Flu outbreak appx. 69 thousand people perished
-In the 1968 Hong Kong Flu epidemic appx. 33 thousand lost their lives
-and during the 1976 Swine flu, the 1977 Russian flu, and the 1997 Avian flu outbreak less than a hundred people died in each.

So, public information, good hygiene, and adherence to preventative measures have really improved our ability to weather the storms of these outbreaks.

Remember, stay vigilant, stay calm, and seek medical care if symptoms of high fever, respiratory symptoms, body aches, chills, nausea, or diarrhea occur. I believe that we can make it through this round of influenza with minimal complications if we follow the appropriate measures.

Now, on to another topic. Every year, like most people, I watch the Kentucky Derby. Well, this year a horse named 'Mine That Bird' ridden by Calvin Bore, came from the last place position going into the final turn and pushed passed the field on the rail and won by 12 lengths. This horse was a 50-1 shot and has become a true Cinderella story. It was perhaps one of the most amazing races in Kentucky Derby history.

And finally, we mourn the loss of Senator Jack Kemp. Senator Kemp was the vice presidential canditate on the ticket with Senator Bob Dole in the election of 1996. Senator Kemp was a Godly man and a true conservative. He held firm to conservative values and led by example. It would do the Republicans well to learn from Senator Kemps life.

As far as things around here, we are all doing well. Travis and I have had to sit through meetings with our chief medical staff to develop our 'Swine Flu' protocols. Hopefully, we will never have to get past the planning phase.

Bryan is still home on leave and we miss him. It is time he gets back to work. He has had his fun and all but we are ready to send out a couple of thugs and drag him back. You can't hide from us Cpt. McFarland.

I pray that you all have a great week and God Bless,


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