[Guest post by DRJ]
The President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology warns the swine flu could infect 30-50% of the population, hospitalize 1.8M and kill 30-90K Americans.
The CDC’s information page notes the swine flu does not seem to target as many people over age 64 as the seasonal flu. However, other populations that are traditionally sensitive to the seasonal flu also seem at risk to the swine flu, including people with “asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease, neurocognitive and neuromuscular disorders and pregnancy.”
What should you do to avoid catching or spreading the swine flu? According to the CDC:
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.
The CDC link lists guidelines for when adults and children should seek emergent care. It also recommends not to attend “swine flu parties”:
“Swine flu parties” are gatherings during which people have close contact with a person who has novel H1N1 flu in order to become infected with the virus. The intent of these parties is for a person to become infected with what for many people has been a mild disease, in the hope of having natural immunity novel H1N1 flu virus that might circulate later and cause more severe disease.
A vaccine may be available in late October.