School is about to start. Kids will be not only be bringing home school yard gossip and homework but they’ll be bringing home germs, and lots of them. The featured virus this year – the swine flu. Recent polls are reflecting that Americans in general aren’t too concerned about the N1H1 virus and have become complacent, but the new reports predicting that almost 100,000 people will die this season will reinstall some good old fashioned fear.
The CDC is saying that up to 40% of the US population could develop the swine flu, that two million Americans could be hospitalized with about 300,000 landing in intensive care and that about 90,000 – mostly young adults and children – could die from swine flu. Yeah, the fear is back.
Hospitals will be overwhelmed with people with the swine flu. A regular flu claims about 35,000 during it’s season and mostly the elderly. But the N1H1 not only could kill almost 100,000 people but it’s victims may be a large number middle aged adults, adolescents and children.
The Today show’s Ann Curry asked Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, why we don’t just close the schools until the threat has subsided. She said that “shutting a school down preemptively doesn’t really stop the virus from spreading. There may be a time if the virus spreads enough in one school setting in a district that the local superintendent decides that it’s appropriate to shut the school down…”
If you have a child with an underlying condition such as asthma or a neuromuscular disease she advised to begin to talk to your doctor how to get anti viral medications and to be prepared if your child has flu like symptoms. And if you are pregnant, she suggested talking to your OBGYN right now about preparing to get a vaccination once it’s ready.
Hopefully the predictions have been blown out of proportion. “This isn’t the flu that we are used to,” stated Kathleen Sebelius. “We won’t know until we are in the middle of the flu season how serious the threat will be.”
Are you worried about the swine flu or have you become complacent?