Swine Flu

Swine flu is an emerging international new influenza virus that appears to have started in Mexico. It is a new strain of influenza that was transferred from pig to a person. Since person to person transmission has occurred this infection has the potential to spread around the world. How serious the infection will become and how widely it will spread is not known at this time. News will evolve quickly. We recommend you "go to the source" at "CDC Swine Flu information page":http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu. Many times in the past the general media (newspaper and television) has gotten important facts wrong about major medical issues so it is important to view reputable sources on the internet which will generally be CDC and other public health agencies.

h2. Symptoms

Symptoms are the same as winter respiratory flu. This includes fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, sore throat and cough. The big differences between influenza and other respiratory viruses is the amount of muscle aches and fatigue. This is NOT the same thing as "stomach flu" which is a viral infection of the intestines, causing fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

So far documented cases in the US have been mild. Very few have required hospitalization and there have been no reported deaths. For unknown reason at this time cases in Mexico have been in much greater numbers and been deaths have been reported. Investigation by international infectious disease experts is ongoing.

h2. How do I protect myself?

Transmission of the infection is the same as transmission of colds and respiratory flu. Avoiding crowded indoor places will reduce your exposure. Cover your cough and frequent hand washing will decrease spread. If you are ill stay home from work. If you child is ill with fever than we recommend staying home from school. If your child is ill but there are no symptoms of respiratory difficulties or dehydration than best to stay home and NOT go to doctor's office or emergency room. If your child is a patient of our clinic just call our office for advice.

h2. Is there any treatment?

There are medications that have a slight impact on influenza virus. They are recommended for patients with severe underlying diseases and must be given early in the course of infection. We will be following recommendations of CDC regarding treatment. In general they shorten the duration of fever by about 1.5 days with minimal impact on contagiousness.

Our office will be monitoring the situation closely and will follow recommendations of CDC and other public health agencies. Check back on our website or "CDC Swine flu page":http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu.