H1N1: pandemic arising

Swine Flu
Since it's been widely circulated on Facebook and email, we have no idea to whom to give credit for this photo. If you do, please let us know and we'll gladly attribute it to that clever person.

Earlier this year, we received an email that said if we looked in the mirror and saw this cute little guy, it might be good idea to stay home from work. Dude, if we wake up looking like this, we may not have a job to go to anymore!

While the email was humorous, coming down with H1N1 flu and the looming pandemic are not. Please do what you can to limit the spread of flu here and avoid it yourself.

 The Tuolumne County Health Department’s newsletter has some very good tips on how to do that this month. Here they are.

Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Update

Here at the Tuolumne County Health Department our Emergency Preparedness team is keeping a close eye on the current trends in H1N1 infection in our community as well as in our state, and throughout the United States.

The materials we receive are reviewed and passed on to local physicians and health care providers. The symptoms of novel H1N1 flu virus are similar to those of seasonal flu and include fever of 100 degrees or greater, cough, sore throat, and congestion. Pandemic influenzas like novel H1N1 tend to occur in waves where you will see a period of activity which then subsides, and returns again. Numerous waves will occur throughout the pandemic.

Across the United States we are seeing this illness often affecting younger people (ages 6 months to 24 years), pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions.

What To Do At this point H1N1 has been relatively mild in our community with no patients requiring hospitalization. Most cases recover well at home with just rest and fluids.

Adults should seek medical care if they experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, or severe or persistent vomiting. Children should be seen immediately if they have fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin color, if they are not drinking enough liquids, not waking up or not interacting, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held, flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough, or having fever with a rash.

To prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Cover your cough
  • Keep the ill isolated at home
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze
  • Use alcohol-based cleaners when soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Discourage people with symptoms of respiratory illness from entering your office or business

Further resources and information

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I like going places: out West, west of the West, and all the way around the back of the globe to the East. I like to go by train, plane, automobile, horseback. Whatever. And I like writing about what I see, feel, hear, smell, and touch all along the way and once I get there.

One thought on “H1N1: pandemic arising

  1. Looking at the influenza statistics at the CDC, I found that recently, the only major influenza prevalent in the population at this time was H1N1 (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/). Stanislaus county seemed to have the largest numbers of infected in the area (http://www.cdph.ca.gov/DATA/STATISTICS/Pages/H1N1… around 500,000 cases so far, 52 hospitalized. My kids and I were all sick for about a week each with fever, chills, aches, all the signs of influenza. Consequently, I'm pretty confident we've already been there, done that.

    Which brings me to my first point. I strongly oppose any attempt by the Obama Administration to require vaccinations against H1N1, especially at schools. At this time, they are still talking about a voluntary program. I hope that continues. There are serious risks associated with H1N1 vaccines and other vaccines such as HPV. In 1976, the last time the government attempted a mass H1N1 vaccination program, there was a dangerous, almost 10-fold elevation in the incidence in Guillain-Barre syndrome (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,545142,00.htm… a neurodegenerative condition among those receiving the vaccine for H1N1 versus other influenzas. That vaccination program was stopped.

    The vaccines are not safe in part because they contain materials that can cause serious autoimmune reactions (http://www.naturalnews.com/026723_health_vaccines… There are other risks of needle re-use and use of contaminated materials. With a mass vaccination program, human error is unavoidable. If my family must have any vaccinations, I'll take us all to a physician, thank you very much.

    I remember a couple of years ago when the vaccine manufacturers were complaining that people weren't getting their flu shots. Sales were slow and manufacturers were losing money. A month or so later, there were there were claimed shortages of the vaccine and a serious flu strain that year. Was there a glut or shortage of vaccine (http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-128224014.html, http://www.sptimes.com/2005/03/01/Tampabay/Florid… Normal influenza deaths average about 36,000 per year. That flu season was very mild (http://www.healthywomen.org/resources/womenshealt… The flu strains were clearly less dangerous than expected.

    Which brings us to the second point. Where are the elevated deaths from H1N1? Sure, there are anecdotal reports of young healthy people dying from H1N1. Such tragedies will always happen, every year. You can pick sad stories to sell an idea, but that doesn't constitute a valid medical study. Until we actually see a significantly elevated level of deaths from H1N1, there should be no mandatory vaccination program. Furthermore, there should be no mandatory program at all, it should be strictly voluntary. Quarantine should be an option if a house has sick individuals in it.

    And now the final point. Who owns my body? Do I? I say I do. Who cares most about my children? I do. A significant threat to my family's welfare comes in the form of the adoption of the standards of international law, treaties that have not be ratified, but taken as the basis of new regulatory standards and practices. Consequently, we may no longer own our bodies, and parents may no longer be presumed to be acting in the best interests of their children. It may be difficult to fight mandatory vaccinations even though risky vaccines could cause chronic illness or death. Who decides what is best for our kids?

    Under the "UN Convention on the Rights of the Child" (http://untreaty.un.org/English/TreatyEvent2001/pd… parental rights are supplanted by claimed state interest. Fortunately, the CRC has not been ratified by the United States and never should be. Here are just two provisions, certainly not an exhaustive analysis as others have done (http://www.parentalrights.org/index.asp?Type=B_BA

    "States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members." Thus, whatever the state thinks, the children should also think.

    "States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures." Thus, you must do for (to) your children what the state says you must do.

    As a practical matter, there should be no forced vaccinations in schools; they should be voluntary. Preparations for a mass H1N1 vaccination program should be carried out, but extraordinary efforts to perform injections should not be carried out until a significantly elevated level of mortality is documented. Meanwhile, morbidity and mortality studies should be undertaken to collect statistical data on the effects of H1N1 vaccinations that are being performed now.

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