Swine Flu III: The Search for Snot

(Diagnosis is made by analysis of nasopharyngeal secretions, you see.  It’s a pun.  It’s supposed to be funny.  You may laugh when ready.)

Here’s a draft of an interview I gave on Swine Flu as it impacts new mothers:

> 1)  What exactly is swine flu?

It’s a flu previously only seen in pigs.  IN fact, all flu strains arise
in pigs and poultry, and cause human epidemics when they become
transmissible between humans.
> 2)  New moms may have added concerns over the current swine flu threat.
> What should a new mom know about swine flu in regards to her baby?

The “additional” concern is really only for families that received the flu
vaccines as recommended by the CDC, because the seasonal flu shots do not
appear to prevent this new strain.  For people who were not immunized this
season, the garden variety, “regular” flu is probably still the greater
threat, with thousands of fatalities in US.
> 3)  How serious is the swine flu in regard to small infants? Are some
> infants more susceptible than others?

Possibly; the only place where serious cases have occurred so far is
Mexico, and the risk factors are still being analyzed there.
> 4)  What precautions should a mom take to keep her baby healthy?

Keep out of crowds, wash hands and everything else that touches a baby.
Vitamins A and D should be supplemented, especially in breastfeeding
babies over 2 months age and all mothers, as they are vital in maintaining
appropriate immune response, and are most often deficient.
> 5)  What symptoms should she keep an eye out for in her baby and when
> should she seek medical attention for her baby if she suspects swine flu
> contact?

The usual — fever, cough, poor appetite, cranky or lethargic, looking sick.
> 6)  If an infant does contract swine flu, what is the treatment?

Tamiflu appears to be effective; you and your doctor will decide if it is
> 7)  Is there anything I have forgotten or that you would to add to the
> topic?

The early returns suggest that this is a milder disease than regular flu,
amd is probably very widespread already, with lots of mildly sick people
running around, going about their business, and getting better without
ever being diagnosed with swine flu.  In fact, the countries reporting
cases now are those with real-time capability of analyzing virus genome to
identify it, and I doubt anyone is spending the money to test mildly ill
persons.  We will soon know why Mexican patients are more severely
affected; possibility include genetic (Native Americans appear to have
different immune response to certain infections), vitamin deficiencies, a
pool of infected individuals well into the millions leading to fatality in
a rather small percentage of cases, existence of a co-infection in Mexico,
and toxic folk remedies or counterfeit medications.


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