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Dr. Phil Aaron: Seasonal flu/Swine flu

As death toll rises, attitudes on getting flu shots is changing dramatically. Dr. Aaron writes about identifying and self-diagnosing flu and colds, and actions to be taken to prevent spread of the disease

By Dr. Phil Aaron

As the number of cases of Swine flu has multiplied, there are now nationwide over 1,000 Seasonal Flu deaths; and over 2,500 deaths associated with Swine Flu. People are changing their remarks from "I don''t want that flu vaccine," to "Where can I get the vaccine?"

The Swine Flu germ passes easily from person to person since people have no immunity to the germ. The symptoms of the Swine Flu and the seasonal flu are basically the same: a fever, sore throat, cough and runny nose. Children with Swine Flu are more likely to have vomiting and diarrhea than children with seasonal flu.

Even though symptoms of Swine Flu and seasonal flu and are very similar, they affect different groups. Seasonal flu affects mainly the elderly. Swine Flu affects those under 65, occurring mostly in children and young adults.Even though the H1N1 virus is referred to as the Swine Flu, people cannot catch it from eating pork.

To protect ourselves and our children, wash or sanitize your hands. Stay at home from work or school if you are ill until the flu symptoms and fever are gone for 24 hours, and get vaccinated!! If they don't have flu symptoms, there is no reason to keep children home from school to try to avoid the flu.

The flu spreads mainly thru the air - people are contagious up to five days after their symptoms appear. The best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated, and to keep our hands clean. It takes up to 10 days for a vaccine to protect against the flu.

To fully protect a person only one flu vaccination is needed unless a child is under 9 years old. These children need two shots. Children under 6 months old should not receive the Swine Flu shot.

Flu vs.Cold
  • Flu symptoms: Sudden onset of fever, body aches, dry cough, extreme tiredness
  • Cold symptoms: Gradual onset, stuffy nose, sore throat, hacky cough
The Swine Flu vaccine is recommended for:
  • Pregnant women to protect the babies they are carrying
  • Health care workers
  • Children from 6 months- 18 years
  • Young adults 19-24
  • People 25-64 with diabetes, heart or lung disease, kidney disease, pregnant or Cancer
Swine flu and seasonal flu shots can be given on same day

The seasonal flu and Swine Flu shots can be given on the same day. Nasal spray must be given one month apart. Pregnant women, children between 6 months and two years and adults over 50 should receive shots. For all others, nasal sprays are available.

Some patients want treatment with anti flu medicine to protect them from getting the flu (Swine or seasonal).

Two medicines are recommended for this: Tamiflu for treatment and prevention in people over one year of age and older: Relenza to treat infection in people 7 years of age and older and to prevent the flu antiviral drus are-only up to- 76% effective, in people age 5 years and older, when used to prevent the flu antiviral drugs are only 70% effective.

Emergency care for flu victims

Generally speaking, no medical intervention is totally risk free. This year's Swine Flu and seasonal flu vaccines are safe and effective. There is far less risk to people from being vaccinated than those who are not vaccinated.Emergency Care for flu victims:

Certain signs indicate the need for emergency care in children or adults: fast breathing; difficulty breathing; blue or purple lips; non responsiveness or hard to awaken; dizziness; confusion; seizures; severe or persistent vomiting; fever with a rash.

Thanks to Mayo Clinic, Center for Disease Control, Ky Medical Assocation.

This story was posted on 2009-10-28 12:22:48
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