Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Swine Flu Stew

The current Swine Flu situatation is a unique one. There is a whole lot of speculation, a whole lot of pseudoscience, some witchcrafts, zombies, and living undead. But what we know is that it’s not really all that bad. It’s the flu, so try as hard as you can to not get the flu!

What makes me feel safe is that the upraise that happened a few ekes ago when collage students went to their dorms. The scare never emerged into anything. The strongest young people of this nation didn’t have a problem with this swine flu.

Let me present you with a few facts:

The outbreak of what is popularly called swine flu involves a new H1N1 type A influenza strain that's a genetic combination of swine, avian and human influenza viruses.

This virus was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs (swine) in North America. But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs

Influenza viruses infect the cells lining your nose, throat and lungs. The virus enters your body when you inhale contaminated droplets or transfer live virus from a contaminated surface to your eyes, nose or mouth on your hand.

Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products

To avoid a nasty flu, wash your hands often. Stay away from sick people, and if you do get sick stay away from others. It’s that easy.


Rachel said...

You should add one fact. While the virus is traditionally thought to enter with inhalation and or nose/mouth -- the most common route of infection is thought to be the eyes. How to protect yourself? Wash your hands and don't touch your eyes.

It will be interesting to see if anything actually develops. It is all about evolution and contagiousness. This sucker is damned contagious, which means it passes on and on quickly. While it is not really a baddie now, this passing on and on means it has the opportunity to evolve into a worse (or weaker) strain. Either way -- it is interesting academically, as well as a unique study in how populations psychologically deal with and assess risk.

Michael Walsh said...

Thanks for the 'eye' comment. I don't think of touching my eyes very often. Once I think about it though my hands go there quite often.

I'm not sure that how this story develops depends more on media coverage than the real workings of a common evolving contagious virus. It's a tie between media coverage and drumming up money for the medical industry.

Rachel said...

Perhaps that is because news follows paranoia and fear? Whether or not this virus can or will evolve is sort of independent of the media frenzy.

Just read this the other day. It makes sense. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1171494/how_to_choose_a_roller_derby_name.html?cat=10

Michael Walsh said...

Rachel, I'm not sure that todays media "follows" paranoia and fear as much as they create and spread paranoia and fear, but that is each our own perspectives.

At first read I completely agreed with your comment, then I thought to mayself about how we as a community reacted to the mass media coverage of the swine flu over the past few months......I may be a little off here, but doesn't the 'flu shots' and the overperscribed anti-biotics provide a landscape where this stains of flu's succesor might appear sooner than without the media coverage and subsequent medical reactions? All the while, like you noted in the original comment this succesor stain may well produce weaker problems for us.