Swine Flu: Are You Afraid?

Cynthia Dermody
Big Kid
13

swine fluWhen something as scary as news of 40 Americans coming down with the swine flu hits the Internet, parents often start to panic. President Obama has said that the outbreak is cause for concern, but "not a cause for alarm." Still, no one wants to even think about their child coming in contact with a deadly virus by simply going to school.

F_Stathouse's husband is so terrified that he says, "the kids are not leaving the property till this is over. No grocery shopping, parks, libraries, etc. One of us has to go while the other watches the kids."

Extreme or smart? Either way, he's not alone.

reddgoddess is also very afraid. She posted here on CM, "Pandemic: Swine Flu is trying to kill us ALL!!!" She added a link to a youtube video of Canadian officials talking about dangers of the virus.

There's lots more talk going on over at the CafeMom Newcomers Club about the real terror this is striking in people's hearts.

I'm not sure it has reached the threat level some parents feel, but I certainly understand the fear. In fact, several cases have been found in my state. When my boys come home today, the clothes come off and hands get washed immediately. For me, sometimes it helps to cut through the misinformation (check out Healthy Living Buzz on the subject). Also here are some key facts from the CDC:

  • What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?

The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

  • What do we know about human-to-human spread of swine flu?

In September 1988, a previously healthy 32-year-old pregnant woman was hospitalized for pneumonia and died 8 days later. A swine H1N1 flu virus was detected. Four days before getting sick, the patient visited a county fair swine exhibition where there was widespread influenza-like illness among the swine.

  • How can human infections with swine influenza be diagnosed?

To diagnose swine influenza A infection, a respiratory specimen would generally need to be collected within the first 4 to 5 days of illness (when an infected person is most likely to be shedding virus). However, some persons, especially children, may shed virus for 10 days or longer. Identification as a swine flu influenza A virus requires sending the specimen to CDC for laboratory testing.

Are you afraid of the Swine Flu? What precautions, if any, are you taking for your family?

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