Swine Flu and Fear

I’m writing this on day three of a fever, so I apologize if it isn’t as coherent as I’d like. I’m sick. It started off feeling like my usual sinus troubles, so I treated it in the usual way: irrigating my sinuses with salt water. This plan has worked in the past, fending off several sinus infections before they got to the point where I’d need a doctor or antibiotics. But while the sinus problem cleared up, the feeling of not-good stuck around. My head was still pounding. Two days ago, the headache was joined by an all-over body ache … Continue reading

Will the Swine Flu Shot Be Ready by October?

We’re not done with swine flu yet… or maybe swine flu isn’t done with us. As of the beginning of June, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are reporting more than 8,500 probable and confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States; the World Health Organization puts the global number of cases just over twenty thousand. The virus has been confirmed in sixty-six different countries. More than one hundred people have died at the time of writing. But we may see a swine flu vaccine in the United States as early as October — right around the start of … Continue reading

Flu Kits

With all the talk about swine flu in the news lately, you may have heard mention of a “flu kit” — basically, a bunch of stuff to keep handy in case you come down with some form of influenza. The things in your flu kit can help keep you comfortable while the virus runs its course. So what might you want to put in your flu kit? Medical-Type Stuff A thermometer. Fever may be your most noticeable (and bothersome) flu symptom. Fever/pain medication, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Avoid giving aspirin to children. Tissues. The flu can spread quickly … Continue reading

U.S. Declares Swine Flu a Public Health Emergency

On Sunday, April 26, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security declared a public health emergency for swine influenza. This sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. The government declares public health emergencies more often than you’d think — for things like hurricanes, flooding, and even the recent inauguration. Basically, a public health emergency is more like a warning to be prepared, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The CDC has reported twenty cases of swine flu in the United States so far, spread over five states: California Texas Kansas Ohio New York … Continue reading