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Here, piggy, piggy... 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:40 pm
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Post Re: Here, piggy, piggy...
My son (age 3) was born prematurely and with some other health problems (anatomical issues that had to be corrected surgically; RSV; chylothorax after surgery) that lead to him being in the Hospital (mostly ICU) for most of the first six months, and on a ventilator for about six of those weeks. He's fine now, but we are still very wary of lung issues and respiratory diseases, and will continue to see a pediatric pulmonologist for the next few years.

He is _very_ concerned about H1N1, for two reasons:

1. Spanish Flu of WWI started out in the spring, relatively mild, and was pretty manageable until it mutated in the fall and turned deadly. H1N1 is so far following a similar path, but fortunately has not undergone such a mutation yet. But if it does, it will be pretty bad.

2. Vaccines are coming very slowly. Huntsville got its first doses (3000 or so) yesterday, for a metropolitan population of ~200,000 or so. Our kid's pulmonologist believes that it is likely that the population as a whole won't be vaccinated fast enough to keep the spread of the disease down. If it doesn't mutate, or if mutations are relatively benign, this won't be so bad. But again, if it mutates in bad way, there simply won't be enough medicine to keep up with the spread. (Read the first few chapters of Stephen King's _The Stand_.)


Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:06 pm
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PITA Bred
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Post Re: Here, piggy, piggy...
Bill, you could say that about every year's round of the flu. There's always the potential for a late-round mutation, and I believe there are occurrences (usually local or otherwise contained) almost every year.

Other than that this year's crop includes an H1N1 strain, I am mystified at the hysteria and level of misunderstanding. Flu ALWAYS mutates - that's why we need new vaccine compounding every year. There are ALWAYS multiple strains in circulation - that's why there is no single vaccine. The separate H1N1 vaccine is only being promoted because the strain came along too late for inclusion in the general vaccine this year. There is no sign at all that H1N1 is any more lethal than any other strain - the opposite, perhaps. (Check flu death stats for the last umpty years.) And this is not the first time we've seen H1N1 since 1918.

I maintain that the problem is that people, misled by advertising, folk knowledge and a continuing failure of the medical field to adequately convey the seriousness of influenza, believe that flu is a mild cold-like illness, and that this strain, for mysterious reasons, is an unusual, deadly (gosh, possibly even engineered!) variant. It's not. It's another strain of flu. Flu kills. People need to understand that, but it's too late now. The notion that we are under attack by some strange, malevolent and unusual beast is ingrained.

I should point out that I'm one of those people who never gets sick; the worst flu I had ever had was bad-cold-plus-a-little-GI-upset for a day or two. Until spring last year (I think it was) when I got a case that hammered me into the floorboards for two solid weeks. Just plain flu of the 2007-2008 variety, and after more than forty years.

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:45 am
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Here, piggy, piggy...
Some data from the CDC:

[The CDC] said the country has seen more hospitalizations in people under 65 with flu than what is normally seen in an entire flu season.

The center reported one of the largest single-week jumps in pediatric deaths from H1N1 since the outbreak began in April.

Nineteen more children died from lab-confirmed H1N1 in the past week, bringing the total number of deaths in children in the U.S. to 114. More than two-thirds have been children with underlying health conditions.

"This is a younger people's flu," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a briefing Friday.

"In a usual flu season 90 per cent of the deaths are among people over the age of 65. In H1N1, 90 per cent of deaths are in people under the age of 65."


Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:48 pm
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Post Re: Here, piggy, piggy...
Sad as each individual case is, those numbers which are not vague are microscopic. Your point?

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"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders." - Luther
In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:46 pm
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Post Re: Here, piggy, piggy...
JamesGifford wrote:
Sad as each individual case is, those numbers which are not vague are microscopic. Your point?


"...more hospitalizations in people under 65 with flu than what is normally seen in an entire flu season" sounds significant to me, given that flu season has barely started (regular vaccine only just showed up here).

Got my H1N1 shot yesterday. Shoulder still aches. Can't afford to be out of action when Grace goes into labor.


Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:27 am
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Post Re: Here, piggy, piggy...
Both Bill's son and Grace have circumstances that would make their vaccination a good idea. I hope both of them have been vaccinated, if that is safe for them. I believe that there is a lot of hype that causes people who are really at very low risk to demand vaccination for a disease they are unlikely to get. (the over 65 group, for example). As long as the decision to vaccinate or not is made because of the individual circumstance that is how it should be. What should NOT be done is building a panic that this flu is somehow worse than the regular flu (which barely merits a headline) just "cause".

This flu IS, IMHO, worse than the regular flu, because it targets and kills specifically children. And in my opinion that is a greater tragedy than a disease that kills mostly old people. And it is very very widespread. The doctors around here do not even test for it in most cases. The mild cases will never be reported because no one goes to the doctor's office for mild cases as they are swamped right now even more than usual. (And we HAVE health insurance). If the vaccine is not available for everyone who wants it, it is ethically mandated that it be given to the people most at risk for the disease and for serious problems with the disease first - children and pregnant women, and a few others, AFAIK.

I had a very serious reaction to a regular flu vaccine about 15 years ago. While it never crossed my mind to get an H1N1 shot for myself there was a long chat about it with the pediatrician for my youngest daughter, who was not yet born when that reaction occured. She has many many allergies, though she has not been tested for flu shots and we do not know what ingredient in that shot caused the reactions, it wasn't eggs. IN the end we decided to forgo the shot for her, because of the known risk of her own allergies and the severity of my reaction. (I am told I would not have survived had my kids not gotten the ambulance).

That is what needs to go into a decision to vaccinate - a considered and thoughtful response - and the knowledge that we must live with the consequences of those decisions. Scary as that is.

Take care everybody
and WASH YOUR HANDS!! - no one is allergic to that!

Audrey


Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:45 am
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PITA Bred
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Post Re: Here, piggy, piggy...
PeterScott wrote:
"...more hospitalizations in people under 65 with flu than what is normally seen in an entire flu season" sounds significant to me

In a year of widespread attention, media coverage, concern over healthcare and sudden understanding that flu ain't a cold, yes. In prior years they would have stayed home from work and no one else would have known about it until some of them died.

This is also a vague, non-quantified claim. Even from the CDC, that's not a good datum without substantiation, quantification and context.


Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:29 am
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PITA Bred
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Post Re: Here, piggy, piggy...
Let's take it from the top:

PeterScott wrote:
Some data from the CDC:
[The CDC] said the country has seen more hospitalizations in people under 65 with flu than what is normally seen in an entire flu season.

What are the usual numbers? Are we talking dozens, hundreds, thousands, what? And over what time span? Even if true, it's likely because of greatly heightened awareness and some overreaction than any true change in virulence.

Quote:
The center reported one of the largest single-week jumps in pediatric deaths from H1N1 since the outbreak began in April.

A terrifying statement, tempered greatly by the next:

Quote:
Nineteen more children died from lab-confirmed H1N1 in the past week, bringing the total number of deaths in children in the U.S. to 114.

Nineteen? NINETEEN? More kids died from choking on toys that week, I'd wager. So this "terrifying" flu epidemic has so far left around 114 grieving families of children... but coldly speaking this is a statistically microscopic number, below reasonable significance. And...

Quote:
More than two-thirds have been children with underlying health conditions.

Flu impacts the weak and infirm disproportionately. Shocking news.

Quote:
"This is a younger people's flu," ... "In a usual flu season 90 per cent of the deaths are among people over the age of 65. In H1N1, 90 per cent of deaths are in people under the age of 65."

Unusual but not unprecedented; flu does not always take the weakest and most generally vulnerable. Some strains of flu bring unusual "tools" to the battle. This is also an unquantified scare statement.


Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:42 am
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Post Re: Here, piggy, piggy...
It's even got Canadians riled. You know that ain't easy...


Sat Oct 31, 2009 2:41 pm
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Post Re: Here, piggy, piggy...
Hey we have it too! And you can guess how many colds and flues go about in our wonderful warm dry climate!

I had Russian Flue about 15 years ago, I lost half a stone (7 pounds) and was floored for 2 weeks - this was when I was probably at my fittest and healthiest (serving soldier doing lots of physical exercise). A bad flue really is a killer for the weak and infirm - the Russiam Flue killed hundreds that year (possibly thousands) just in mainland UK.

From what I have seen and been told - a few of my friends have had Swine Flue - this flue is pretty nasty for 3-4 days then eases off, about a week in all before you are back on your feet. We have been waiting for the strain to really kick in but it doesnt seem to have done so. I work in a school with 1400 pupils and 150 odd staff and since September term started we have only had 3 confirmed cases (2 staff 1 child). Just to emphasise the point, most of our kids come from "deprived" areas - normally reckoned to be the areas where diseases hit hardest due to poor welfare and diet.

The vaccine (Tammyflue) is known to cause side effects which can last up to 1 month, and can cause major problems to people with respiritory disorders (asthma etc) which is really good as these people are most at risk to catch the damned disease! So to vaccinate or take the chance. A bit of a "no brainer" IMHO - neither I, my wife (who has asthma) nor my children will risk it! We will obviously take all the normal precautions, but I think (and hope!) that by being sensible, and teaching my daughters (3 of them!) how to keep the risks down -as Audrey has said - we should be ok from the "wild killer"!


Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:27 pm
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