Saturday, October 17, 2009

H1N1 Influenza... Are You Scared?

Good news and bad news. Bad news first, it looks like H1N1 influenza is going to be worse than the regular seasonal influenza that kills 11 thousand people every year. Good news? it's not that much worse, at least for now.

Jordan recorded its first fatality in a 26-year old. The US is recording an unusually higher rates of death among influenza patients, higher than the annual average for this time of year. However, a fact remains that the vast majority of people infected with the virus will do just fine without any medical intervention.

Pandemics like this one are concerning, not only because they kill people but also because the virus behind them is new. We don't know much about it. Nobody knows whether or not the virus will gain more strength over the next 2 months or will get weaker and stop killing people. We don't know if the vaccine will be 100% protective for everyone who receives it. We don't know if children to pregnant women afflicted with the infection will suffer any long term lung damage. However, we know enough about the virus to try to tell that some people, as expected, are freaking out for wrong reasons.

Is the H1N1 Vaccine Safe?
Yes. For as much as we know, the vaccine is very safe. It would have been better if we were able to study it for a few years before it gets released, but there isn't anything there to suggest that it will cause any damage to body organ. The risk of not vaccinating can be very high.
People with weakened immune systems due to chemotherapy or other causes should not receive the nasal form. They can get the injection.

Does the Influenza Vaccine cause influenza?
No, it doesn't. If someone got the vaccine and 3 days later got the flu, it's a coincidence. If you saw a new Pepsi commercial and 3 days later you got the flu, don't blame Pepsi for it. It's the flu season, people get the flu.

Who Will suffer the most from the H1N1 Influenza?
A lot of people who died had other medical illnesses like cancer or severe lung disease. Pregnant ladies are definitely at a much higher risk of acquiring a severe infection. But a third group seems to be at risk: young healthy people in their 20s. Their immune system produces a very vigorous response to the infection that can damage their lungs and even kill them.

Patients might suffer a little bit from the virus itself but as they recover a bacterial pneumonia follows and that can rapidly fatal. A lot of the victims of the 1918 pandemic died that way.

I really really don't want to get the flu, what should I do?
1- Wash your hands continuously. You rub your nose everyday more than you can imagine. The influenza virus can live on your hand for hours.

2- Avoid people who have influenza. They are contagious for up to one weak after the onset of symtpoms.

If someone in the room is sneezing or coughing, leave the room. I just did so. A selfish girl in the cafe was sneezing and rubbing her red nose so I just gave her Ja7ra Karakiyyeh and left the cafe to sit outside. BE SHAMELESS, and if you have the flu yourself, stay inside your f-ing home until you stop sneezing or wear a mask if you really had to leave the house.

3- If someone in your family gets the flu, isolate him/her as much as possible. Don't share the same room, towels or utensils. If someone else in the family has a weakened immune system (from cancer, medications...etc) consider letting them take Tamiflu one tablet daily for 10 days to prevent getting the infection. If a pregnant lady is exposed to someone with influenza for a long duration she has to take Tamiflu. It's nine times more likely that she will suffer a severe disease than non-pregnant women.

And, take the vaccine, both the influenza and the H1N1 vaccine. They're approved for those 6 months to 65 years of age.
Feel free to ask questions.


Anonymous said...

Swine flue is a hoax!

and i'm afraid you're not doing a good job saying all of that!

plus....the vaccine IS a bad thing! youtube all of that stuff....and watch more documentaries....

gal shu? gal swine flue!!! even labs prove that this virus is made in labs n that there's no way on earth that it evolved normally!

ya3teek el 3afyeh :D

Hareega said...

Anonymous, I'm afraid that none of what you have said is true. I saw at least 3 young people almost dying from its effects. None of those 3 will tell you it's a hoax.

You can believe whatever youtube clip you see, but solid evidence and numbers don't lie. that's the language we should be speaking. Now talk to me and tell me why is it a hoax. Give me some evidence.

Write in full sentences and don't give me links.

stuffy said...

I know the symptoms are similar to those of seasonal flu, but do they involve constant sneezing? i dont sneeze much when i get the flu, but lately i've had a stuffy & runny nose and i sneeze like a thousand times a day, are they just allergies? im concerned cuz my friend's sister has it :( and both me and my friend have the same symptoms now

Hareega said...

The stmptoms are a little different from the seasonal flu. 25% have GI symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Sneezing is a possible symptom but it's usually associated with other symptoms like body aches or joint aches. If you've been sneezing for more than a week without other symptoms it's unlikely this is influenza. It could a lot of other viral infections or an allergy.

Unknown said...

I've been looking forward to getting this all year and finally I got it and so did my whole family! I thought it was never gonna happen lol.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, but the first Anonymous is a total moron!

I got swine flu and thank God I recovered.

When Anonymous gets it (it's mean, I know, but I hope he does) then he'll realize it's true.